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Feb. 19 1970 hearing (pages 163-256)
CIA/DoD Phoenix Program:
Targeting non-combatants (civilians)
Also: Exit strategy, rigged elections, puppet government

CIS: 71 S381-2 SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17

Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}

 


HEARINGS


BEFORE THE


COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS


UNITED STATES SENATE


NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS SECOND SESSION


ON


CIVIL OPERATIONS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM

______________________


February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970 {appendix}


GPO mark


Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations


U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
44-706 WASHINGTON : 1970

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

J. W. Fulbright, Arkansas, Chairman

John Sparkman, AlabamaGeorge D. Aiken, Vermont
Mike Mansfield, MontanaKarl E. Mundt, South Dakota
Albert Gore, TennesseeClifford P. Case, New Jersey
Frank Church, IdahoJohn Sherman Cooper, Kentucky
Stuart Symington, MissouriJohn J. Williams, Delaware
Thomas J. Dodd, ConnecticutJacob K. Javits, New York
Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island
Gale W. McGee, Wyoming

Carl Marcy, Chief of Staff

Arthur M. Kuhl, Chief Clerk


Note.— Sections of this hearing have been deleted at the request of the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Deleted material is indicated by the notation “[Deleted].”


(II)

CONTENTS

{To come}

{February 19 1970 hearing, pages 163-256}

{Image: pages 163-188} {1.3mb.pdf}

 

{p.163}

Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970

_______________

Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program

_______________

Thursday, February 19, 1970

United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.


The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a.m., in room 4221, New Senate Office Building, the Honorable J. W. Fulbright (chairman) presiding.

Present: Senators Fulbright, Sparkman, Gore, Church, Symington, Case, Cooper, and Williams.

The Chairman. The committee will come to order.

OPENING STATEMENT

The committee is meeting this morning to hear Senator McCarthy, who was unable to testify during the recent hearings on the Vietnam policy proposals which we started last week. ¶

Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 70 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991 pf, DL, WorldCat}CJHjr

Following his testimony we will resume the hearings on the operation of the CORDS program in Vietnam. The witnesses this morning will be Maj. James F. Arthur, who will testify on the CORDS program at the district level; Mr. William K. Hitchcock, who will testify on the refugee program, and again Ambassador William E. Colby, who will testify on the Chieu Hoi program and be available for general questions on CORDS operations.

Senator McCarthy, we are very pleased you could find the time to meet with us this morning. Having been a former member of this committee, you know how useful it is for us to have information from a man who has been as thoughtful as you on this subject over many years. We are very pleased indeed to have you this morning.

Statement of
Hon. Eugene J. McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Minnesota

Senator McCarthy. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee and speak to you about what I consider the possibility of negotiated settlement of the war in Vietnam.

In defending his Vietnam policies, the President has attempted to confine the discussion to two possible courses of action: One, the immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam, in what he describes as a precipitate action, and his policy of Vietnamization, which contemplates a reduction of U.S. presence and a building up of {p.164} the military strength of South Vietnam under the control of the present government.

The immediate and total withdrawal of American forces is not the only alternative to the Administration’s program. The choice has never been as limited as the Administration statements indicate and is not so limited today. A third very real possibility is a negotiated political settlement, followed or accompanied by withdrawal of American military power.

COST OF VIETNAM WAR

The massive American intervention in Vietnam in 1965 and in the years following created difficult military, political, and moral problems for us. They will not be easily solved. As chairman of this committee, you have heard testimony and know what the war has cost, so many million dead, approximately a million and a half refugees, increased corruption of the cities and of the population of Vietnam, desolation of the countryside, so well described in the Vietnamese training pamphlet which was quoted in this committee’s recent staff report

I would ask that the section of this be included in my remarks.

(The information referred to follows.)

______________________

Rural Vietnam today is desolate, bleak and in many areas deserted. Gardens are plowed by either bombs and shells or by men digging not furrows for seed but shelters and trenches. Houses appear in irregular patterns, some curiously unscathed by the ravages of war, but many are destroyed or knocked askew and lean drunkenly, adding to the mournful loneliness which is the hallmark of abandoned areas. Previously lush rice fields are overgrown with weeds, the silence unbroken by the peasant’s songs from generation to generation, the abandoned land devoid of even the herds of cattle and buffalo that formerly roamed. Many villages have become ghost towns, their inhabitants having fled to the cities as war refugees or to the mountains or forests to escape ever-impending death.

______________________

To these losses in Vietnam we must add the more than 40,000 American dead and quarter of a million wounded, many of whom survive more heavily impaired than the survivors of previous wars because of advanced medical and surgical techniques and improved field evacuation procedures. And remember also that the heaviest toll of American dead and wounded is among those of 19 to 21 years of age. The cost of the war, so far as we can discover, is something between 20 and 30 billion dollars a year.

We must ask what have we achieved. The only clear answer is the continuation of a government in Vietnam of questionable integrity and little real stability.

WHAT WILL BE GAINED FROM CONTINUING VIETNAM WAR?

The President speaks often of the necessity for an “honorable settlement” or a “just peace;” he does not define either. One must, therefore, ask what, if any, honor has been gained by the death and destruction and social chaos that has gone along with our overwhelming military power and our massive physical presence in Vietnam over the past 5 years, and ask what will be gained from the continuation of the war.

It is unlikely that the Vietnamese will be able to take over the fighting effectively and to control the country. Rather, the course {p.165} the Administration is pursuing is likely to require an indefinite continuation of American involvement in Vietnam, although at a reduced level. We still have over 50,000 men in Korea 17 years after the end of the fighting there.

Some of the claims made by the Administration must recall to the committee the optimistic statements issued by spokesmen for the last Administration, particularly by the Secretary of Defense, Mr. McNamara at that time, on his return from his numerous visits to Vietnam. The record of the past suggests that Vietnamization will not work. It has been tried repeatedly over the past 20 years — first by the French and later by us. It was, after all, the inability of the South Vietnamese Army to fight effectively even after more than 10 years of training and equipment by the United States that prompted the dispatch of American combat troops to that country in 1965.

Even if through a resurgence of morale and reduction of corruption, the South Vietnamese Army could be made into an effective military force, there would still be the question of whether Vietnamization is itself desirable.

Asians would be killing Asians with American arms. Defoliation and destruction of crops would continue; villages be destroyed; refugees be “generated;” casualties be continued.

The United States would still have a great share of moral responsibility for the war, for continuing it and sustaining it. We will have made of the Vietnamese Army, if the Nixon policy is “successful,” essentially a mercenary army fighting its own people for an unrepresentative government, and beyond that, if we are to accept the statements of Dean Rusk and President Nixon, to attempt to protect the interests of the free world.

PUBLIC HAS BEEN DISTRACTED FROM JUDGING VIETNAM POLICY

Mr. Chairman, I believe the American people were prepared to make a public judgment on American policy in 1968, but they were distracted.

They were distracted first by the withdrawal of President Johnson from the campaign of 1968.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (U.S. President, Nov. 22 1963-1969 Jan. 20), “The President’s Address to the Nation Announcing Steps To Limit the War in Vietnam and Reporting His Decision Not To Seek Reelection{copy, audio, video: final 96 seconds} (White House, Oval Office, Sunday, March 31 1968, 9:00 p.m.), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1968-69, pp.469-476 (book 1) (U.S. GPO 1970) {SuDoc: AE 2.114:968-69/BK.1, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}.

And seeThe President’s News Conference of March 31, 1968” (White House, Oval Office, Sunday, March 31 1968, 11:00 p.m.), PPPUS, LBJ, 1968-69 (book 1): “President Johnson’s one hundred and twenty-second news conference was held ... immediately following the President’s announcement of his decision not to seek reelection.”

  CJHjr

Second, they were distracted by the meeting of negotiators in Paris on May 13, 1968.

More recently, they have been distracted by limited troop withdrawals, which have demonstrated so far only that there were too many troops in Vietnam in the first place. These troop withdrawals do not at this point indicate any change of policy.

And fourth, they have been distracted by the talk of Vietnamization.

Public examination or reexamination of our involvement in Vietnam is essential.

I believe that the Nation is being misled over the issues at stake in Vietnam now as it was in 1966 and 1967 when your committee took upon itself the responsibility of educating and informing the people and called the Johnson administration to a public accounting.

POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT

Mr. Chairman, I believe that a negotiated settlement of the war is possible and that the time to seek such a settlement is now. {p.166}

The first reason for this opinion is an immediate and practical one, which is that I am not convinced that — leaving out the U.S. presence — there has been any major shift in the basically unfavorable balance of political and military power in Vietnam or that such a shift is likely to take place. It is in order, therefore, to ask what will happen if the level of our involvement becomes insufficient to avoid defeat. Will we escalate our efforts or will we then negotiate from weakness?

The second point arises from my belief that there have been no serious negotiations since the first meeting in Paris in May of 1968 or since the joint meetings began in Paris in January 1969.

We are today proposing, principally, free elections. This proposal has very little to offer to the other side. ¶

In 1956, we supported the Diem government in its refusal to hold the elections called for {copy} in the Geneva Accords. ¶

As former Ambassador Harriman has stated, it has never been envisaged that the political settlement could be brought about by a “winner take all” election in the Western tradition. The war has not been fought for free elections. ¶

I am not aware of any case in recent history where divisions and disagreements strong enough to have led to 25 years of civil war were settled immediately by elections — free or unfree.

There is no good reason to believe that we can bring about serious negotiations in Paris until the United States is willing to make a basic change in policy. Serious negotiations cannot proceed unless we are willing to support a coalition or a fusion or a new government to control the process of transition, at least. The task of the interim government would be to arrange a cease-fire and to assure the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces. It would prepare the way for the eventual selection of a permanent government. We should be prepared to support with other nations such a hope and, I would hope with the concurrence of the United Nations, such a negotiated settlement could be sustained.

There are risks and dangers in such a policy. I do not believe they are as great as some have declared them to be.

My conversations with the National Liberation Front and the North Vietnamese delegation in Paris lead me to believe that a political settlement of this kind is possible and lead me also to these conclusions.

NORTH VIETNAMESE ATTITUDES

First, that the North Vietnamese are not counting on winning the war in Washington, as some advocates of the war in this country say. They point out that the war with the French, for example, was not won in Paris and that they were involved in this war long before the United States became involved.

Second, they point out that historical evidence does not support a presumption that massive executions would follow a negotiated settlement and they say that such executions would not occur.

Third, they anticipate that North Vietnam would not take over South Vietnam and that for a long period of time — meaning years — some division would exist between North and South Vietnam,

Fourth, they feel very strongly about our having bombed North Vietnam — their country — a feeling which is reflected in their attitude toward captured fliers. {p.167}

 

Fifth, they do not believe that Vietnamization will work.

Sixth, they seek a commitment on troop withdrawal, a commitment which would be accompanied by an agreement on a provisional government and along with this there could be immediate negotiations with reference to prisoners of war and the manner in which South Vietnam might be governed until a permanent and settled government could be established there.

Mr. Chairman, those are the conclusions I have come to, not just from the conversations in Paris, but in my years on this committee and through the thought and reflection and study I have given to this problem over the last 5 years.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

WHAT IS TO BE GAINED BY CONTINUING VIETNAM WAR?

The Chairman. Thank you, Senator McCarthy. I think it is quite obvious that you have thought very deeply about the war. You have raised questions in which I find myself very interested and with which I am deeply sympathetic. I am very deeply sympathetic to your point of view. It comes back to this question of what is to be gained by a continuation of the war.

I have asked this of some of the witnesses who have been telling us about the actual conditions as they see them in Vietnam. Usually they answer that they are not policymakers and that whether or not we should be there is someone else’s business. All they are concerned with is the best possible administration of their immediate duty.

You raised what I consider the fundamental question of what is to be gained by a continuation of the war. If I understand you properly, you can see nothing to be gained of any great value, of any great importance or significance to this country, by a continuation of the war, nothing that could not be obtained as well or better by a negotiated peace. Is that correct?

Senator McCarthy. Yes, that is my position, Mr. Chairman.

I think we have known all along that we could somehow win a victory in Vietnam if we were prepared to put enough power into it and enough men and enough equipment, enough force.

The question is: What comes with that kind of victory? Do we wish to establish a puppet state of some kind in Vietnam and sustain it as a kind of military government for 10 or 15 or 20 years? Is this what’s meant by a just settlement and an honorable peace in South Vietnam? Or do we wish to work out some other kind of political life for the people of that country?

If we take into account the fact that we have roughly a half million military and police personnel there, and we don’t know just what the number is in the South Vietnamese Army, but they are roughly a million, that is a million and a half military personnel to control a population of approximately 15 million people or one military person for every 10 nonmilitary people. And add to that the force that we have there, artillery and airplanes, helicopters and firepower, you would have to say at some point we could dominate the country.

But the question is what comes of domination and that has never been satisfactorily answered by any spokesman for this Administration or the last one. {p.168}

MEANING OF ADMINISTRATION’S “HONORABLE PEACE”

The Chairman. What do you feel the Administration means by an “honorable peace”? What are the conditions of an honorable peace?

Senator McCarthy. Mr. Chairman, I don’t know. When President Johnson spoke, at least in his conversation from the Cronkite report, his first telecast, it became a little bit, at least I thought, clearer to me when he said that in his judgment and in the judgment of the Secretary of State that the Tet offensive was a great military failure for the North Vietnamese and Vietcong. ¶

This may be a reference to Walter Cronkite’s interview with Lyndon Johnson concerning “The Decision to Halt the Bombing.” (CBS television, February 6 1970). I haven’t found a transcript. But here is their real-time reaction to the 1968 Tet Offensive:

Lyndon Baines Johnson (U.S. President, Nov. 22 1963-1969 Jan. 20), “The President’s News Conference of February 2, 1968{copy} (White House, Cabinet Room, Friday, February 2 1968, 12:05 p.m.), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1968-69 (book 1) (U.S. GPO 1970) {SuDoc: AE 2.114:968-69/BK.1, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}. “Our best experts think that they had two purposes in mind. First was a military success. That has been a complete failure. ... That is the judgment of the best military advice I have here. ... Their general conclusion is that as a military movement it has been a failure.”

Walter Cronkite (Anchor, CBS Evening News) “We Are Mired in Stalemate{copy} (CBS News, Special Report, “Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?” February 27 1968, concluding comment). “The Vietcong did not win by a knockout. But neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw.”  CJHjr

I think we acknowledge that it didn’t accomplish their objectives and that that was a turning point. ¶

If this was his judgment, it became a little clearer to me why the negotiations in Paris never did go any place, because it seemed that we went there not to negotiate but really to accept some kind of surrender. ¶

So you had two parties there, the spokesmen for North Vietnam and the enemy, believing that we were going to negotiate some kind of settlement and, so far as I can see, our people were there to accept surrender. ¶

So there was nothing that was negotiable. ¶

I say this becomes clear in light of what President Johnson says his interpretation of the Tet offensive was in early 1968, that we really have not gone there to negotiate. ¶

So I don’t know what settlement the Administration would accept other than the acceptance of the Ky-Thieu government of South Vietnam and whatever would follow from that.

PRESENT PUBLIC ATTITUDE TOWARD VIETNAM WAR

The Chairman. Senator McCarthy, do you not detect, however, that the mood of this country is that the war is for all practical purposes over? The shift in emphasis has been dramatic, it seems to me, in the public discussions, in the press, and in the television. There is a shift from discussion of the war, its significance and aftermath to interest rates, to revival of interest in segregation, racial matters. The war has taken very much of a backseat, so to speak. Do you see it that way, and that the public generally is not really interested in the war on the assumption that it is about over or is on its way to being liquidated?

Senator McCarthy. I think part of it is an expression of a kind of hope that the war is going to end. I think also it is a kind of desperate feeling there is not much that can be done about it in this particular period of time.

COST OF VIETNAM WAR

The Chairman. I would gather from what you say you don’t think it is about to end.

Senator McCarthy. I don’t, no.

The Chairman. It is going on at a very high cost. Thursday being the reporting day, I heard on the radio coming in this morning that there were, I think, 96 dead and about 350 wounded this past week, which is a very substantial number. The cost in dollars is still very great. The effect of the drain of the war on our resources, not only material but mental resources in the sense that it preoccupies the minds of some of our most important leaders, seems to me to indicate that we are not dealing and coming to grips with the fundamental {p.169} causes of the social and economic disruption here at home. Do you agree?

Senator McCarthy. Yes; I agree.

The Chairman. It worries me very much, but I don’t know what to do about it.

Senator McCarthy. I hope your hearings may again stir interest. As I said, it was the hearings this committee held back in 1965 and 1966 that called the attention of the country to what was happening by way of escalation of the war and I know of no better way than the way you are following now of again trying to stir the country to a concern over the war and of trying to lay before the Senate and the Congress the facts. Not just the facts of the situation but what we seem to be accepting as a kind of way of life for America, continuation of the war, a military position in Southeastern Asia, despite the fact that spokesmen for this Administration and the last repeatedly said we don’t intend to maintain any bases there.

WHAT PREVENTS UNITED STATES FROM NEGOTIATING?

The Secretary of State some time ago said that the decision to withdraw troops was irreversible. It is difficult for me to understand why we can’t negotiate a withdrawal of troops if what has been said reflects their real position. If they were going to take the troops out, why not negotiate? But we can’t negotiate that because that would give away our position, they say. But it seems to me if they believe what they said and are sincere about the troop withdrawal, they have already given away their position, and that the better part of wisdom would be to talk about the conditions under which the withdrawal would take place and see what could be negotiated by way of a response to that withdrawal.

The Chairman. I want the other members to have an opportunity to discuss this with you. I am not sure this is really a question that can easily be answered, but is there any one single consideration, as you see it, in the minds of the Administration that stands in the way of a negotiated peace such as you suggest? Can you isolate it? Can you identify a single consideration that people can understand and that this committee can understand as to why we do not do whatever it takes to get a negotiated peace? The Vice President, if I may say so, has accused me of saying that all we want to do is to surrender and to turn everything over to the Communists. This is, of course, a very pejorative statement on the part of the Vice President. It is not the way to characterize either what you said or what I said. That is one of the obstacles of course to giving rational consideration to this kind of problem.

In view of your long thought about it, what it is that stands in the way of a negotiated settlement to conclude this war, which seems to me to be so eminently in our national interest.

All kinds of programs of a domestic nature in which the Congress and the people are interested, all the way from pollution to inflation controls, are very much influenced by this enormous military expenditure. If that is true and if it is standing in the way, what do you think prevents us from negotiating?

Senator McCarthy. I think that the practical decision that has to be made is one of a willingness to accept a new government in South {p.170} Vietnam and there never really has been any indication of a willingness to accept that.

CONTINUING THRUST OF PAST POLICIES

The action in Vietnam is not very different from what was urged upon President Truman at the end of World War II when there were those who said we had to go into China. And that policy was turned down. A similar policy was urged upon President Eisenhower at the time the French failed, but he said “no” to it. But the thrust was there and the pressure for it, I think, is built into the State Department and built into the Defense Department and built, in a way, into the thinking of this country. It is not rational any more to accept China as a great threat to the United States or to have an idea of putting Chiang Kai-shek in power on the mainland. But we are still carrying on a program which is unrelated to any basic belief or policy of Asia; it is a kind of madness. There ought to be some relation between a program and what we believe and what our objectives are. But in this case we have a program which really has become a policy and it ought to be the other way — the policy determining the program.

The ideological base, if we can call it that, or the historical judgments that were made and accepted, I think, in the State Department by John Foster Dulles, in World War II and at the end of it — these are no longer accepted, but the momentum of the State Department and of the Defense Department is such that we are carrying on a program which is unrelated to a policy or which relates to a policy which we no longer accept.

The Chairman. I thank you very much. You know you have a way of being very provocative in the way you put things. You immediately raise, intentionally or otherwise, a revival of the concept of Manifest Destiny as Breckenridge and others used to talk about it at the turn of the century. I don’t want to go into it right now, but I refer to what you say about this continuing thrust. Even though a policy is turned down, still it comes back again.

Senator Sparkman?

Senator Sparkman. Mr. Chairman, Senator McCarthy has given a very full statement and you have certainly quizzed him at such point that there is not much left for me. But I will ask one or two things.

CEASE-FIRE AND TROOP WITHDRAWALS

For instance, in your statement you say the task of the interim government would be to arrange a cease-fire and to assure the orderly withdrawal of foreign forces. Haven’t the North Vietnamease {sic: Vietnamese} repeatedly stated that they would not negotiate for a cease-fire or anything else until all of the American troops were gone?

Senator McCarthy. I don’t think that is their position, as I gather. They would want an agreement about withdrawal of troops, but they are prepared to negotiate, I am quite satisfied, following such an agreement but before they are withdrawn.

Senator Sparkman. Why should not the cease-fire be negotiated at the conference table before the setting up of an interim government?

Senator McCarthy. Well, you get into a question of military tactics at that point, Senator Sparkman, and the question is not very {p.171} different from what happened in Korea. There was fighting going on even while they were negotiating. I think that rather than talk about an incidental thing like stopping the bombing, for example, that you have to go beyond that and I think the first step should be a significant one rather than one that is incidental.

I don’t mind, I think, if we can get an agreement on a cease-fire first, but I think an agreement on a cease-fire is much less important than an agreement on troop withdrawals and the establishment of a new government.

STEPS UNITED STATES SHOULD TAKE

Senator Sparkman. I wonder if you could state in a sentence or two what steps you advocate the United States should take.

I believe actually you enumerated them in your statement.

Senator McCarthy. Yes, pretty much those two points, I think.

Senator Sparkman. Yes.

Senator McCarthy. One, as Administration spokesmen — both President Johnson and spokesmen in his Administration and spokesmen in this Administration — have said, we don’t want a permanent base in Southeast Asia and Secretary Rogers has said that the decision to withdraw troops is irreversible, that we could be prepared to negotiate conditions under which we would withdraw troops. We could be prepared to talk about them. But I don’t believe we are. We have to talk at the same time, I think, about a new government in South Vietnam which would be reasonably representative of the factions that were there before Ky and Thieu came in and which I think are still there.

COALITION GOVERNMENT

Senator Sparkman. I am not completely clear on this because it seems to me there have been several statements made on both sides that indicate to me a kind of indecision. It seems to me that the suggestion has been made, whether at the conference table or elsewhere, that an agreement could be made on some kind of coalition government and that from time to time President Thieu has indicated that he would be willing to see such a coalition government. It may be that the difference was that he felt that that coalition government should come about as a result of free elections. Is that right?

Senator McCarthy. Well, I don’t know that he has ever — I am sure he has never made any serious proposition about a government to replace him. I think early in this Administration someone did use the word “coalition,” but only once and they never have come back to it again. There is no indication in Paris that coalition is being very seriously talked about or proposed at the discussions there. At present, elections are the big offer that we are making and that offer is entirely unacceptable.

EXTENT OF DESTRUCTION IN VIETNAM

Senator Sparkman. In your paper you quote a part of the report from the staff of this committee, from which you point out that “Rural Vietnam today * * * ” — “Gardens are plowed by either bombs * * * ” I don’t believe you read this. {p.172}

Senator McCarthy. I didn’t read it into the record. I assumed the committee had heard it in other testimony.

Senator Sparkman. I wanted to ask you a question about it. ¶

“Gardens are plowed by either bombs and shells or by men digging not furrows for seed but shelters and trenches. Houses appear in irregular patterns, some curiously unscathed by the ravages of war, but many are destroyed or knocked askew and lean drunkenly, adding to the mournful loneliness which is the hallmark of abandoned areas. Previously lush rice fields are overgrown with weeds, the silence unbroken by the peasant’s songs passed from generation to generation, the abandoned land devoid of even the herds of cattle and buffalo that formerly roamed. Many villages have become ghost towns, their inhabitants having fled to the cities as war refugees or to the mountains or forests to escape ever-impending death.”

In the testimony by Ambassador Colby, he stated: ¶

“Except in one or two areas, the large enemy battalions, regiments, and divisions are in the border sanctuaries. The roads are open to many markets and, from the air, tin roofs sparkle throughout the countryside where families are once again tilling their long-abandoned farms.”

Can you explain the difference between the two statements?

Senator McCarthy. I think the report of the committee said there were some areas that were not devastated. This was not a total description of Vietnam but a description of some part of Vietnam and I took it on the authority of the committee staff who made that report to include it in mine, not saying it was my observation at all, but I think it is generally agreed there are areas that have been devastated seriously and there are others which people say appear to be unmarked. But you have to believe that if we have dropped as many bombs with such destructive weight on the country as we are reported to have, it has to have some effect.

Senator Sparkman. I am sorry that in neither statement do I find any estimate as to how much of the country may be subject to the conditions described in each statement.

That is all, Mr. Chairman.

EXTENT OF DEFOLIATION

The Chairman. I have seen recently figures about the extent, but I don’t recall them. For example, the defoliation is many thousands of acres. I have forgotten just how many, whether it was 10 percent of the arable land or not.

Let me read it. I knew I had seen it somewhere. Since you have brought it up, I think the record should be complete. This is from a reporter-at-large on defoliation. It is written by a reporter for the New Yorker, Thomas Whiteside. He says:

In 1968, 1,267,110 acres were sprayed, and in 1969, perhaps a million acres. Since 1962, the defoliation operations have covered almost 5 million acres, an area equivalent to about 12 percent of the entire territory of South Vietnam, and about the size of the State of Massachusetts.

I thought Massachusetts was larger than that. It seems to loom larger.

Senator McCarthy. It is a rather small State.

The Chairman. It seems to loom larger. That is a very substantial area and would be, I am sure, much of the land where people live.

I think that would be interesting to include in the record. {p.173}

PRESIDENT THIEU’S CONDITIONS FOR ENDING VIETNAM WAR

If the Senator will allow me on another question, the staff has handed me an article from the Star of last September, and I quote the pertinent language to the question that the Senator just raised.

The President of South Vietnam took indirect issue with President Nixon today over conditions for ending the war and for withdrawing American troops. President Thieu said his country will not stop short of victory no matter what happens in Washington. He defined victory as “no Communist domination and no coalition with the Communists.” Nixon told a news conference yesterday that the United States favors internationally supervised elections in South Vietnam. “We will accept the result of those elections and the South Vietnamese will as well even if it is a Communist government,” Nixon said.

I think the whole article ought to go in. But here President Thieu directly contradicts the idea.

Richard M. Nixon (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1969-1974 Aug. 9), “The President’s News Conference of September 26, 1969” (White House, East Room, September 26 1969, 12:00 p.m.), 1969 PPPUS 748-758 {html, 715kb.pdf} {Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, SuDoc: GS 4.113:969, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}CJHjr

Senator Sparkman. I said it has been an on-and-off proposition. He also has been quoted at times, I believe, saying he would accept it. I don’t think there is anything on which we can rely. I am not urging that.

Senator McCarthy. I think his condition is pretty consistent. He may have slipped once, but that is what he said.

(The information referred to follows:)

______________________

[From the Washington Evening Star, Sept. 27, 1969]

THIEU CONTRADICTS NIXON’S STATEMENT ON VIET ELECTIONS

The president of South Vietnam took indirect issue with President Nixon today over conditions for ending the war and for withdrawing American troops.

President Nguyen Van Thieu said his country “will not stop short of victory, no matter what happens in Washington.” He defined victory as “no Communist domination and no coalition with the Communists.”

Nixon told a news conference yesterday that the United States favors internationally supervised elections in South Vietnam. “We will accept the result of those elections and the South Vietnamese will as well, even if it is a Communist government,” Nixon said.

Thieu’s apparent denial of this was quoted by United Press International from a news conference he held at Vung Tau, a coastal resort where he spoke to village official trainees.

WITHDRAWAL PLANS

Thieu said he was “promoting national reconciliation (with the Communists) through free elections.” But his remarks indicated that he was not prepared to accept a pre-election coalition with the Communists or an election result favoring them.

The South Vietnamese president also outlined what he expects from the United States as it withdraws troops.

If Washington tells him how many troops it wants to withdraw in 1970, he will submit a plan saying what he needs to cover that, Thieu said.

“It’s very reasonable to replace the bulk of your infantry if you provide us equipment, enough funds, and material to achieve the strengthening and modernization of Vietnamese troops, at the same rate and same speed,” he went on.

“If you help me adequately, all right,” he added.

The discussion involves only U.S. infantrymen. Both Thieu and the Nixon administration seem to assume that American soldiers will remain in Vietnam to provide logistical, artillery and air power support for South Vietnamese foot soldiers.

In Washington yesterday, high South Vietnamese sources said that Saigon planning is based on the assumption that these U.S. support forces will remain at least “through the end of 1972, should the war last that long.

At his news conference today, Thieu did not specify figures. His vice president, Nguyen Cao Ky, said last week that 150,000 to 1200,000 American troops could be withdrawn by the end of 1973. {p.174}

After the currently planned reduction of 35,000 men by Dec. 15, there will be 484,000 American troops authorized for Vietnam. Ky’s figures suggested some 300,000 might still be there at the end of next year, and Thieu’s comments seemed to support this.

Thieu said he “has no wish” to replace all American forces in 1970. “What we’re asking for is a reasonable time for us to provide training and leadership,” he said.

NIXON’S HOPE

Nixon has said he hopes to beat the timetable set by former Defense Secretary Clark M. Clifford, who has urged that all American ground combat troops be pulled out of Vietnam by the end of 1970.

Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird has said that an all-volunteer force to serve in Vietnam would not be possible until the American troop level had dropped to no more than 250,000. He has denied, however, that the administration plans to create such a force and to go on fighting indefinitely.

South Vietnamese sources here echoed Nixon’s belief that the only way now to end the war is to convince Hanoi that it has nothing to gain by waiting for further concessions from the allied side.

The South Vietnamese now have a military force of about 863,000 men. This includes army, navy, marine, air force and airborne units as well as regional and popular forces. It does not include about 182,500 in the national police and other paramilitary units nor more than a million villagers organized in self-defense units.

Present plans call for raising the 863,000 figure by 90,000 — to 953,000 — by the end of 1972, the sources said.

______________________

SIGNIFICANCE OF TIN ROOFS

The Chairman. I have one other comment. Whenever you see a tin roof there, that is an indication that the house had been destroyed, because most of them didn’t have tin roofs. These are roofs the Americans have come along and replaced. I think that is the significance of the tin roof. We had a big argument, you remember, by the Senator from Indiana, whether Indiana or Korea should supply the tin roofs and at what price, in our discussion of the aid bill.

SOURCE OF EXCERPT FROM COMMITTEE STAFF REPORT

Senator Sparkman. Mr. Chairman, may I add this. Regarding the excerpt from your statement, Senator McCarthy, which is from this committee’s staff report, my attention has been called to the fact that it was not their own observation that the staff members were giving.

Senator McCarthy. That is right.

Senator Sparkman. It is a quote from a pamphlet that had been previously published there. I see nothing that would show to what time it relates.

Senator McCarthy. I say that in my paper. It was out of a handbook or guide.

Senator Sparkman. I am told a pamphlet was published in 1969.

The Chairman. By whom?

Senator Sparkman. It was used at the Vietnamese training center.

Senator McCarthy. That is right.

The Chairman. At Vung Tau?

Senator McCarthy. That is right.

The Chairman. Where Revolutionary Development Cadre, village and hamlet officials, People’s Self Defense Force personnel and others are trained. {p.175}

Senator McCarthy. It was supposed to be reasonably official from our point of view, I understand.

The Chairman. Senator Case.

Senator Case. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMENDATION OF THE WITNESS

I, on this side of the table, welcome you back to the committee. We have missed you, but you have been engaged in important work elsewhere. I think the contribution that you have made in this regard in 1968 was a tremendous one.

Senator McCarthy. I think the committee has done well without me.

Senator Case. The committee has limped along under the disability that it suffered at that time, but seriously, the committee and you were engaged in the same general process, and the role which you assumed at that time, I think, was peculiarly adapted to your qualifications.

MAINTENANCE OF WORLD PEACE AND U.S. ROLE

I wonder if I may, leaving aside the immediate suggestion that you make here — and I hope your optimism is right; I have not, myself, seen any signs of negotiation as likely to produce anything better than we have now — ask you to give me for our general guidance your conception of the role of the United States broadly in international affairs now? I was very much struck by the article that foreign affairs carried a few months ago by John Patton Davies, the thrust of which was we had gotten away from the only real possible principle on which peace can be based on this world — the balance of power. Is this a conception on which broadly you agree? What is the basic thrust of your view as to the way peace can be maintained in the world and the role of the United States in it?

Senator McCarthy. Senator, I am not pessimistic about the overall possibility of some order in the world among the great powers. I think there is a kind of balanced power relationship now as between the United States and Russia, with the Chinese not really a power but simply a force or a presence, and that the war in Vietnam is really not part of any great power struggle. If it were, one might say in some kind of great historical judgment you could justify what we were doing. But I don’t think that is the case.

Therefore, it is unrelated and you have to judge it really in itself. And, in that case, I don’t think it is defensible on any grounds, and certainly to the extent that it might cause some kind of confrontation with the great powers. It is dangerous even apart from whatever judgment you might pass on it as a separate problem.

It is my opinion that we can maintain this relationship between Russia and the United States if we are reasonably careful. The two nations, I see as probably being the most positive force for order in what they do and how they develop are the Japanese in the Far East and Germany in Europe. They seem to have accepted their responsibility to be restrained and to avoid military buildups and to avoid confrontation. If that relationship, if this status, can be maintained in Europe and the Japanese develop as they are developing in Asia. {p.176} then the only uncertainty would become that of China and I don’t think anyone can make a judgment as to how that nation will go. You asked me a rash question and it is a rash judgment, more or less.

Senator Case. You have generally accepted the idea of a balance of power in being?

Senator McCarthy. I think it does exist.

Senator Case. And what is your view as to the relevance of Vietnam?

Senator McCarthy. It is a different kind of balance, a different kind of power and a different kind of politics from the day of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It would seem to be the language in which some people talk about the language of power today.

Senator Case. The world is different, of course. There are two powers now of great consequence and the others have various subsidiary roles, and more minor ones. But the general concept is one which you accept as perhaps the only, so far as there can be a rationale, the only basic rationale, for international relations, and our role in this is an important one, I take it, and has to be in some degree an active one; is that correct?

Senator McCarthy. Yes, I quite agree. I am not an isolationist.

Senator Case. I think this is terribly important because your views on these matters are followed with avidity by a large number of people.

RUSSIAN VIEWS

Have you any revelations to bring us from Moscow; you have been there as well as Paris?

Senator McCarthy. No, I don’t think that I really learned anything particularly there that hasn’t been said publicly. They expressed deep concern over developments in the Middle East, but they have said more since I left than they said at the time that I was there. They had nothing in particular to say about Vietnam, the particular problem that we are dealing with here today.

Senator Case. Mr. Chairman, I think that is all that I would like to say now. Thank you very much.

The Chairman. Senator Church.

COMMENDATION OF THE WITNESS

Senator Church. Senator McCarthy, I want to say that no one man in American politics had more to do with changing our war policy in Southeast Asia than you by your activities in 1968. I think you rendered the Nation a great service.

DIFFERENCE IN NEGOTIATING POSITIONS AT PARIS PEACE TALKS

You have just recently returned from Paris where you had discussions with representatives of the North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front. What fundamental difference between the two sides would you ascribe as the basic reason for the stalemate at the conference table.

Senator McCarthy. Senator Church, our position there, so far as our spokesman. Mr. Habib, presents one, is that we are for elections. And this is totally unacceptable to the other side. Their position is, {p.177} it gets a little bit confused, but the two points are, as I understood their position: an agreement about withdrawal of troops, which should be acceptable, because, as I said earlier in response to a question by another Senator, both the Johnson and the Nixon administration (spokesmen for them) said they had in mind to withdraw troops and not to establish any permanent bases. So it would seem to me that the proposition should be open. And the other point is a new government in South Vietnam. In my opinion, both of these should be subject and are subject to negotiation. But we don’t respond to either of these.

 

Generally, we reject their 10-point program saying this is all or nothing and it is not all or nothing. I am sure that these two propositions are subject to very serious negotiations if we are really prepared to begin to talk about them.

U.S. PROPOSAL OF ELECTIONS AS BASIS FOR SETTLEMENT

Senator Church. Isn’t it curious at this late stage that we now stress elections as the basis for a settlement, even though there is little evidence that either Saigon or Hanoi want elections? The present laws and constitution of South Vietnam prevent free elections, as we Americans would define them, and there is no indication that Hanoi is interested in free elections. Is it not the case that we have put forward a proposition that has little appeal to either side?

Senator McCarthy. I think practically no appeal.

Senator Church. Then why have we pursued that course?

Senator McCarthy. Well, I don’t — I can give a general judgment that we more or less believe in free elections in this country and it sounds like a fair proposition. Most people would say that is a good offer.

It was difficult to hold free elections in some places in this country, to say nothing of what might happen in South Vietnam, but it is just not a viable proposition for negotiation. After a war has been going on for 25 years to say: “Look, we have been fighting for 25 years for free elections.” They don’t respond very actively to that proposal.

NORTH VIETNAMESE AND VIETCONG VIEW OF ADMINISTRATION POLICIES

Senator Church. Based upon your conversations with the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong’s representatives in Paris, how does, in their eyes, the policy of the Nixon administration differ from the policy of the closing days of the Johnson administration?

Senator McCarthy. They didn’t talk about it, particularly in terms of that kind of contrast, but it was obvious that they thought it was a continuation of the same policy.

Senator Church. Basically the same policy.

Senator McCarthy. Basically the same policy. Nothing new had been offered for negotiation with the change of Administration, and if anything they felt, I think, that the failure to replace Ambassador Lodge was a further indication that possibilities of these negotiations were very slight.

Senator Church. Do they view their own situation as growing stronger, growing weaker, or simply stalemating? {p.178}

Senator McCarthy. I couldn’t speculate as to what they really think in terms of the trends. The only indication I received was that they were not on the verge of surrender certainly, and that they were not moved to believe that Vietnamization was going to be a significant success.

Senator Church. Do they view Vietnamization with alarm?

Senator McCarthy. I didn’t get that impression; no.

U.S. NEGOTIATION FOR COALITION GOVERNMENT

Senator Church. I visualize the withdrawal of American troops creating a situation whereby it becomes necessary for all Vietnamese factions to begin to negotiate a Vietnamese settlement. How would you envision the United States undertaking to negotiate directly for this coalition government in Paris? In regard to your position of a coalition government, how can we proceed to negotiate on any basis that would of necessity dispose of or replace the present government in Saigon?

Senator McCarthy. Well, I think it is a difficult test of statesmanship, but I think we must acknowledge that, unless things have changed significantly, we have a great deal of control in South Vietnam at the present time and control over the South Vietnamese Government. Certainly, before the Ky-Thieu administration was established, we were effective in changing governments reasonably often in South Vietnam. In my judgment that is still an open possibility and it ought to be tried. We really haven’t tried it. You say it is difficult and I think it is difficult. If you suggest it could not take place, I think that must be taken to be on the side of pessimism. The alternative is simply just pull our troops out and see what happens or else the only way to settle any kind of international disagreement is by the application of more force. I hope we would not reach the point where we would accept those as the only two possibilities in Vietnam or any other part of the world.

ORDERLY WITHDRAWAL SUGGESTED

Senator Church. I deeply believe we lack the capacity to be the principal architect for a new political structure in South Vietnam. We have given the present government everything that can be given them in the way of military and material support. The only sensible course now is to proceed with an orderly withdrawal. This may very well result in the formation, ironically, of a much more broadly based South Vietnam Government, due to the negotiations among the Vietnamese themselves. The end of the road would, thus, be the same as the start.

Senator McCarthy. I would be prepared to accept that as an alternative to the war in any case, take a chance on what might happen.

Senator Church. Thank you. I have no further questions.

The Chairman. The Senator from Kentucky.

Senator Cooper. I wish to join with all the members in saying we are glad to welcome you. You have been complimented, and correctly, for your leadership in the past, but I would say, too, I do not assume that denies your leadership in the future.

Senator McCarthy. Thank you. {p.179}

LACK OF PROGRESS IN NEGOTIATIONS AFTER CESSATION OF BOMBING

Senator Cooper. I would be happy, too, if we could find some way to quickly end this war and stop the killing and the wounding. You know we have sought negotiations and I agree with you that it would be much better if the war could be settled by negotiation, and the future of the entire area could be settled at least for a time by negotiation.

You remember that you and many of us advocated the cessation of bombing in the belief that it would lead to negotiations. I know you will recall it was intimated by Mr. Kosygin and other leaders of the Soviet Union that it would bring negotiations. I think you will agree with me that there have been no substantive negotiations to settle any of the issues in Paris. Is that your view?

Senator McCarthy. Yes, of course, that is right. The proposition, at the time the bombing halt was under consideration, is they said they wouldn’t even sit down and talk unless we stopped bombing North Vietnam. It was a precondition really to their even coming to the negotiating table.

Senator Cooper. Don’t you agree, we thought, you thought, every one of us thought, if there could be a cessation of bombing, the results would be more than sitting down and talking, but substantive negotiations.

Senator McCarthy. Yes, I certainly hoped for it.

Senator Cooper. I have talked with Ambassador Harriman and Ambassador Lodge, as I am sure you have.

Senator McCarthy. Yes.

Senator Cooper. And they told that nothing of substance was ever discussed.

Senator McCarthy. No.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (U.S. President, Nov. 22 1963-1969 Jan. 20), “The President’s Address to the Nation Upon Announcing His Decision To Halt the Bombing of North Vietnam” (White House, Family Theater, broadcast October 31 1968, 8:00 p.m.), 1968-1969 PPPUS 1099-1103 {html, html} {Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1968-69 (book 2), SuDoc: AE 2.114:968-69/BK.2, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}CJHjr

VIETNAMIZATION AND TROOP WITHDRAWALS

Senator Cooper. I believe this lack of substantive progress in negotiations is one of the reasons that led the Administration to try this policy of Vietnamization. Some have stated that they do not think it is a change in policy, that it is essentially the same policy that was followed under the administration of President Johnson. I disagree, and I must challenge this viewpoint. All of us remember that for years the United States had become more and more involved in Vietnam: economically and militarily. You will remember that in 4 or 5 years our forces were increased from 17,000 to about 550,000. Would you consider that the withdrawal of troops and the promised withdrawal of an additional hundred thousand is a change?

Senator McCarthy. Well, Senator, I think if the numbers withdrawn reach a point where it necessarily sets in motion a policy of change in government in South Vietnam, a shifting of degree of responsibility for that government to South Vietnam itself, at that point the quantitative change would result in a policy change. ¶

I don’t think we have reached that point yet and I don’t think the withdrawal of another hundred thousand troops is necessarily going to do it. First, because there are more troops there than we need even now; and secondly, as you will recall when we were criticizing the escalation, the protest against sending in troops arose long before there were {p.180} 300,000 American troops in South Vietnam. As a matter of fact, when it got to 50,000 and 60,000 and it looked as though it was going to a hundred thousand, it was protested. At that time General Gavin talked about the enclave theory, which he was never really allowed to explain, and I think we have come back to something closer to that if it is not necessary to control the whole countryside. ¶

But I don’t see a policy change yet reflected in the prospective and the present and past withdrawals of troops. ¶

The basic policy is still military domination and continued support of the military government of South Vietnam.

Senator Cooper. Many have talked about the government in Saigon, and it is correct that anything the United States does in Vietnam is in a sense in support of the government. As in this country, if good is done under a Democratic or Republican administration, it supports that administration.

SEARCH AND DESTROY STRATEGY AND TROOP WITHDRAWALS

But I go back to my point of a change in policy. On the military side there has been a change in the search and destroy strategy.

Second, the President is withdrawing troops, and Secretary of State Rogers has said this is irreversible. I assume it means a continuing removal of troops. I think it is irreversible because once you start on a program of withdrawal there would be no way to secure the support of the Congress and the American people to increase troops in Vietnam. Do you think I am correct?

Senator McCarthy. Well, you describe what has happened. I just say it is a question of how far it goes. I mean there are not as many search and destroy missions as there were, and we are not bombing in quite the same places, but they are bombing Laos, so that it is more at this point, as I see it, a question of some changes in tactics rather than a change of policy.

PRESIDENT NIXON’S STATEMENT AT GUAM

Senator Cooper. You have said you thought our programs dictated policy rather than having the programs applicable to a policy.

Do you not think the statement of President Nixon at Guam that, as I consider its substance, we would not become involved again in the land mass of Asia, but leave the burden of protection, to those countries, a policy?

Richard Milhous Nixon (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1969-1974 Aug. 9), “Informal Remarks in Guam With Newsmen” (Top O' The Mar Officers’ Club, Guam, July 25 1969, 6:30 p.m.), 1969 PPPUS 544-556 {html, 966kb.pdf} {Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, SuDoc: GS 4.113:969, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}CJHjr

Senator McCarthy. There are hardly any countries for us to get into except China.

Senator Cooper. The United States is in Southeast Asia.

Senator McCarthy. Laos.

Senator Cooper. We are in Southeast Asia, and I believe that the President’s policy is a change. It means getting our forces out of Southeast Asia.

Senator McCarthy. Well, President Johnson said that, too.

Senator Cooper. I know, but President Johnson was increasing troops all the time, and bombing North Vietnam. It seems so long ago, but I remember the bombing of Hanoi, and when we went to the White House and heard the President describe it in great detail. Our policy is changing. I would agree if we could negotiate with the North Viet- {p.181} namese it would be a better means, but I assume our present course is taken because we haven’t been able to negotiate.

NEGOTIATION AND TROOP WITHDRAWAL

Senator McCarthy. I would say all the changes you have described have not encouraged negotiations. It would seem to me it would make it easier to negotiate, because we are doing this thing or the Administration is, they should not negotiate. It seems to me that that doesn’t follow. That they could negotiate and continue, in fact; the fact that withdrawals were taking place it would seem to me would make it easy to negotiate.

Senator Cooper. I think you said that the North Vietnamese always insisted on the withdrawal of our troops before any substantive —

Senator McCarthy. On an agreement. I don’t think they were insistent upon withdrawals of troops before there was a settlement. That would be preposterous.

U.S. ALTERNATIVES

Senator Cooper. You have said, and many of us have said, that if we can negotiate a cease-fire and orderly withdrawal of troops it would be best. I assume that the substance of your statement, and it is a good statement, is that we should make a choice between the present policy of Vietnamization or an immediate withdrawal of troops. Would you say that is its substance?

Senator McCarthy. I didn’t hear you.

Senator Cooper. I would assume that the substance of your proposal is we should make a choice between the present policy of Vietnamization or immediate withdrawal of troops.

Senator McCarthy. No, I say that is not the choice. That is what is proposed to us. But I think there is a place between that for a negotiated settlement now; that the alternatives are not simply Vietnamization as described by the Administration or the withdrawal of troops. We can negotiate.

COALITION GOVERNMENT AND TROOP WITHDRAWAL

Senator Cooper. You couple with it, then, the installation of a coalition government?

Senator McCarthy. I think that is the critical point of difference between my position and the Administration’s.

Senator Cooper. Senator Church asked this: Do you think the United States should force or coerce the South Vietnamese to establish a coalition government?

Senator McCarthy. Well, I think Senator Church indicated if we continued to withdraw troops it will have the same effect. It will create a vacuum in which they will have to work out something. Maybe that is the only way we can do it, but I think we ought to try to do it in any kind of a rational or orderly way to see if we can arrange it. If we can’t, then to let the policy — let it happen.

It seems to me I am somewhat more optimistic that reasonable order could be agreed upon than simply create conditions out of chaos in the hope that some good may come. {p.182}

Senator Cooper. Withdrawal of troops, then, in your view is the essential element to achieve a coalition government.

Senator McCarthy. Agreement upon withdrawal of troops, not necessarily the withdrawal, is the beginning of negotiation. I think the two come together — an effort to set up a new government and an agreement on withdrawal of troops. I think they can be worked out almost simultaneously.

COULD COALITION GOVERNMENT RESULT IN MINORITY TAKEOVER?

Senator Cooper. We have talked about self-determination and free elections and all that, but practically, it seems to me, the people of South Vietnam have, the majority have not wanted to be under the domination of a minority. Do you believe that a coalition government would result in a minority in South Vietnam taking over against the will, whatever that will is, of the majority? This has happened in many coalition governments.

Senator McCarthy. I know. I don’t think you are going to be able to determine quite what the majority wants. The cult of the silent majority is taking over in this country, so I don’t know as I could read it in South Vietnam. I haven’t been able to read it here. But I think you deal with the forces that you can identify in South Vietnam without trying to claim for them either majority support or lack of that support, as we have attempted to do before we supported the Thieu-Ky government.

DESIRABILITY OF REAL NEGOTIATIONS

Senator Cooper. I certainly am glad to hear you. I agree if there is any possible way of getting real negotiations, we should try. But I must say that I do disagree with you that there has been no change in policy.

Senator McCarthy. It would be almost better to break off negotiations than to pretend we are negotiating as we have been for nearly 2 years.

Senator Cooper. Thank you.

The Chairman. Is the Senator through?

Senator Cooper. Yes.

The Chairman. Senator Williams?

Senator Williams. Just a brief question first. I want to join my colleagues in welcoming you back to the committee.

FORMATION OF COALITION GOVERNMENT

I notice that you do not believe that free elections are the answer. You are suggesting that we abandon that recommendation. Assuming that we withdraw our support for free elections today and express a willingness to enter into an agreement for withdrawal of the troops as you recommend, how would you form this coalition government? That is who would make the appointments for the respective sides? I ask that question because I know here in this country we have many coalition commissions between the Republican and Democratic Parties, but usually the man who makes the appointments makes all the appointments that would coincide with his views. {p.183}

In the forming of a coalition government, if we enforce such a proposal today, how would we form that coalition? Who would make the designations of the respective positions and where would the balance of power lay and how would it be worded?

Senator McCarthy. I don’t know how that could be worked out. That is what we should determine in Paris. We are supposed to have people there who are supposed to be talking about the four principal parties involved in the war and it would be a discussion among them out of which an agreement on a new government could come.

Senator Williams. What would be your views if you were a negotiator and making the recommendation? What recommendation would you make as to the forming a coalition government? Just how would we go about it? I asked you for your views because you have given it a lot of study.

Senator McCarthy. I think everyone has thought about it a great deal and there is no set formula. You are not going to pull them out of a hat, but sit down as they have done before in setting up coalition governments and done in other cases where we negotiated. We did something like this in Laos where we settled. So it is a question of reasonable people sitting down saying, “We will take a chance on this kind of government as an alternative to a continuation of the war.” And you pick your people and name them and it is generally agreed that there are people in South Vietnam, some of them in the Ky-Thieu government, who would be acceptable. But there is no magic formula for it. It is like working out the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Senator Williams. As you state, there are some in the present government that would be acceptable. Acceptable to whom — the present government? Or would you let each one of the various opposing forces select their own representatives?

Senator McCarthy. It would be negotiated. You know how these things are done, John. It is not a formula. You are not going to take 2 percent proportionate representation. We are not going to take that. We know what the forces are running in South Vietnam. At least we should know by now. We have been there roughly 10 years. And I hope we would be expert enough to know what the various groups are and forces and how some kind of reconciliation could be worked out. ¶

The alternative is just to withdraw troops, either do it themselves or continue support of a kind of military dictatorship; these are the choices we have.

Senator Williams. This is one solution and I was wondering what your views are as to how we should form such a coalition government. That is all.

EXCERPTS FROM VUNG TAU TRAINING CENTER PAMPHLET: CONDITIONS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

The Chairman. Previously there was reference made to the excerpt from the document which was cited by you. Senator Sparkman read the part which you cited. I have been handed the document. It is entitled “Revolutionary Development Cadre Program, Contribution to the Vietnamese People’s Struggle or Solution to the Vietnam War.” It is apparently used in Vang Tau Training Center which was set up by American funds and advisers, but, as I understand it, is actually run by Vietnamese now with the advice of Americans. There {p.184} has been called to my attention the following language, following the part that you cited, which seems to me to be interesting enough to read into the record. It is very short. The very next sentence following your excerpt reads:

* * * Of course there are those villages which are fortunate enough to lie within those areas under government control. But, cruel irony, in these areas we run into man’s inhumanity to man in other forms. We find the exploitation of the people by the petty tyrants, the shakedown-artists and the con men. In short, the corrupt officials who look upon the people as being so many vegetables, so much garbage, with whom they can do as they please, indulge their capricious whims no matter how perverted. Is it any wonder that life in these areas is full of complaints springing from an outraged sense of justice.

This then is life in Vietnam as it really is. On the one hand, the cities are troubled with moral and material crises. On the other hand, the countryside is destitute, deserted, racked with disease and hunger and the people feel that life has cheated them. With the cauldron boiling as it is, dissension rampant, the ranks of the nationalists divided and scattered, all who care about their country’s future must feel heartbroken. * * *

We must not hide from the facts, or camouflage the wretched conditions in our homeland under a screen of hypocrisy.

It was such a colorful statement, that I asked the staff why they didn’t put it all in their report. They said they thought it would be so extreme it might be offensive to members of the committee and to the public; so they stopped just short of putting that in.

U.S. PURPOSE IN VIETNAM

I want to ask one last question of you if I may. In the hearings that have been going on and in previous hearings, it seems to me, if there is any recurring reason given as the purpose of this war, it is to prevent the spread of the Communist social and political system. This goes back to the days of Secretary Rusk. Is that your impression? Would you agree that, although other reasons have been given, this is the recurring and most central one?

Senator McCarthy. Well, Mr. Chairman, as you know, as the American commitment for troops and power increased there was a kind of escalation of the stated objectives as it went along, simply protecting the South Vietnamese from Communist domination, then the larger question of the national honor and the credibility of the American commitment, and Secretary Rusk finally began to talk about the potential danger of a billion Chinese in the year 2000. So the rather limited objective which I think was first set has been greatly expanded as time has passed and as the American presence has increased in South Vietnam.

You see, with reference to the reported description of conditions in Vietnam, in the manner in which you did, I don’t know as you really can look at it from outside and make a very positive judgment. If you tried to judge it simply within the terms of the policies that have been announced and the reports that have come out from those making the policies at least since 1965, the members of this committee know that it won’t stand the test of internal criticism. We could hope that what’s being said now will turn out to be the right judgment and things may work out as the Administration spokesmen say they are working out. But the record of the past is such that I think we have to be most skeptical. ¶

There is the further consideration that there is very little said about what things are going to be like after victory, {p.185} and it seems to me that should always be the first question that one should raise and attempt to answer before he becomes involved in military action.

The Chairman. I am not sure that I gathered your answer to this. I realize that in the days of Secretary Rusk there did occur this escalation. However within the last 2 days one of the witnesses of the present Administration, who is working in Vietnam, in response to the question of what we really expect to achieve and what is the purpose, if I understood it correctly, said it was to prevent the spread of the Communist system by force. I have found no other central theme from the beginning, although there have been variations, as you pointed out. Occasionally, it is said our purpose is to give them the right to free elections, but when I ask why we are so interested in free elections in Vietnam as opposed to free elections in Panama or Spain or Greece or Brazil, I find no answer. We don’t seem to be the least concerned about the fact that there are no elections in Greece. We give them assistance and encouragement; we give it to many others and I have never understood. So it seems to come back to this matter of containing communism.

CENTRAL MOTIVATING FORCE FOR U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

I wondered if you would agree that that has been the central motivating force unless you assume the manifest destiny urge that, somewhat like the lemmings, forces us on regardless of what our reason tells us.

Senator McCarthy. Yes, I think that was the primary motivation of those who first advocated our becoming involved in South Vietnam.

The Chairman. Aren’t they still recurring to that if they are pressed?

Senator McCarthy. We have two points, I think: One, President Nixon has said if you have free elections and it turned out to elect Communists that we would accept that. ¶

Query:We would accept that”?

Not in Chile:

“ I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

Henry Kissinger, NSC 40-Committee, June 27 1970

______________________

If you had done this back in 1956, as President Eisenhower promised, in writing {copy}, he would do {copy}, there never would have been a Vietnam war.

  CJHjr

So the question then that must be asked is: Are we there because we object to the process, the spreading of communism by force, and not to communism itself? It would seem to me that this is the position that they hold. If it is then the question you raised, if it is the process, then we ought to be opposed to the establishment of military dictatorships or military democracies by force also. ¶

If it is the process that is our concern and not the consequence, that should be our general concern in Greece and in Latin American countries too.

But as you know, Mr. Chairman, contradictions are present in so many areas that it would be better to just try to work on negotiating a settlement in South Vietnam today.

EFFECT OF CONDUCT OF WAR ON U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEM

The Chairman. Of course, what interests me as the result of this question is the last question which grows out of this. Is the war, the way we have conducted it, actually promoting the strength of the democratic system as we conceive of it, either political or the private enterprise system in the economic sense, or is it weakening it? In other words, is this policy and what we have done actually strengthening those concepts in which we say we believe and undertake to put into {p.186} effect here or does it weaken them? ¶

In view of the attitude of so many people around the world in many advanced societies who so thoroughly disagree with this policy, I have the terrible feeling that we are undoing our own house, you see, by this misguided policy. ¶

It simply is not strengthening those very things we think we are strengthening by this enormous extravagance in a monetary way and loss of lives. ¶

There is a rather haunting feeling that we are our own undoing in this kind of policy, that the objective is not at all being accomplished.

Senator McCarthy. Well, I think we are weaker at home because of the war and I think we have less influence in the world because of the involvement in Vietnam than we would have if we were not involved.

“ What is an issue in Iraq today, existed in South Vietnam:

We’re alone.

If we can’t persuade other governments, with comparable interests and comparable values, the merit of our course, we have reason to consider we’re on the wrong course.

And certainly we ought to reevaluate it.

If we had followed that policy with respect to Vietnam, we wouldn’t have been there.”

Robert S. McNamara (U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jan. 21 1961-1968 Feb. 29), interviewed by James Naughtie (BBC Radio 4, Today, Wednesday June 9 2004, 6-9am at 7:33-7:39 a.m.), audio {5:28, at 5:03}: “Former U.S Defence Secretary Robert McNamara reflects on the Ronald Reagan era.”

The Chairman. Today we have the declining interest rates, the decline in business, the layoff of workers in the automobile and construction business. What is this doing to the economy and to the system which we say we support? The continuation of a military influence far greater than any other influence always leads to the decline of the democratic processes in any country; doesn’t it? Hasn’t that been so? You are a great student of history.

Senator McCarthy. Generally so.

The Chairman. Generally so.

Thank you very much. Do you have anything further to say?

Senator McCarthy. No, I think not; thank you.

Senator Cooper. Mr. Chairman, may I say one thing?

The Chairman. Oh, yes.

BASIS OF PRESENT ADMINISTRATION’S POLICY

Senator Cooper. It is obvious that conditions which you described in Vietnam are the result of the war. We wouldn’t have the material, human situation there if we hadn’t had a war. ¶

It seems to me that the inquiry we are making is to see how we get out of the war the best possible way. Whatever these policies, purposes were in the past, and we have used all kinds of words, such as “defense against Communism,” “self-determination,” and other such terms, but whatever those reasons were, I do not believe the policy of this Administration is based on the policies of the past. I think it is saying it is getting out, and that is the basis of their policy. I think the process of withdrawal is irreversible.

Senator McCarthy. All right, we will let that judgment stand.

Senator Cooper. And we will talk later.

Senator McCarthy. We will talk later.

QUESTION OF URGENCY AND INFLUENCES ON PRESIDENTIAL POLICIES

The Chairman. I would say to the Senator I agree with that. The question is one of urgency and also the influence of some who have a more powerful Messianic spirit than others. ¶

When I read a speech by Admiral Sharp or General Ciccolella, it gives me the impression they have no idea of getting out at all. Their idea is to Christianize and civilize. Their speeches read almost like McKinley’s when he took on Aguinaldo in the Philippines. That is what it sounds like. I will leave it up to you to read the speeches. I grant it is not the Administration. These are important military leaders and these are influences in our {p.187} system. I am very pleased that the President has made no such speech. I personally only would like to urge him to carry on, as the Senator from Kentucky has so well said on many occasions, to the irreversible conclusion of complete withdrawal. ¶

But there is always a little bit of reservation. I have never heard him say complete withdrawal; nor have I heard the Secretary of Defense, say complete withdrawal. ¶

It is withdrawal of combat ground troops and in yesterday’s hearing the witnesses went into some detail, explaining that a gunship, a helicopter with powerful weapons, is not combat ground troops. ¶

There is a question whether there is any intention of withdrawing in this sense at all. ¶

These are the questions I raise simply in an effort to try to create, insofar as I can, a feeling of urgency that it is against the interests of the people of the United States to continue this war and simply to urge the President to follow what he has announced as his policy and not to allow other influences to divert him.

 

When we read about the previous Administration, it is quite obvious that that President followed what I think was a disastrous policy.

There were elements, influences, some pushing him one way and some another, and he finally, in my view, took the wrong turn because of the power of persuasion of certain of his advisers. ¶

There were others, such as yourself and others, who gave him different advice, but he didn’t follow that.

All Presidents are human beings. These two both happen to have been Members of the Senate. We know how we are pushed and pulled on all kinds of issues from day to day and I think that is the way this is.

QUESTION OF IMPLEMENTING POLICY STILL REMAINS

I agree with the Senator from Kentucky. I am not trying to say that the President has not said any of the things he has said. There still remains the question of implementing the policy of getting the job done, of getting the war over and then getting down to trying to attack the problems that are threatening to undermine the stability of our own country. That is all this is about.

QUESTION OF PRINCIPLE INVOLVED IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Senator McCarthy. Mr. Chairman, leaving out all questions of principle, purely in self-interest, I think one can argue that we should get out.

The Chairman. I am not leaving it out — only in the sense that it doesn’t seem to have much appeal to many people. They respond more to the practical effects than principle. The principal {sic: principle} argument has been made by you and others very persuasively and I haven’t seen much effect.

Senator Case. May I say just a word on this question of principle. I am not sure just what you mean, because if you mean a course of action, and I don’t think you do, which because of some divine revelation requires us to get out of there and leave to their fate millions of people, then I don’t think that principle is worth following, and I don’t think there is any such principle that guides us or should guide us. It is a practical problem of getting out with the least damage and the best chance for this country and for that part of the world to rehabilitate itself, and that is what we are all for. {p.188}

Senator McCarthy. Yes.

The Chairman. Thank you very much.

That last statement brings up a very interesting subject. I had thought this country was based upon certain principles beginning with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but I think that goes too far. I personally think we have far departed from our basic principles, as enunciated in certain of those basic documents.

Senator Case. Mr. Chairman, we are in a different age and this is a different country. A little struggling 2 or 3 million people on the fringe of a wilderness outside the main world is a different country, with different responsibilities, from a country which is the most powerful Nation in the world.

The Chairman. Are you suggesting, then, that the Declaration of Independence is obsolete as Mr. Katzenbach did with the Constitution?

Senator Case. I don’t think I want to—

The Chairman. I don’t think you are. I don’t want to argue with my colleague here or get into this at this time. Maybe we ought to do that on the floor of the Senate.

Senator Case. I agree with you.

The Chairman. I don’t think the principles there are obsolete at all. The basic principle, I would say, in Southeast Asia is that those people have a right to work out their own destiny without the intrusion of the United States with arms. That is what I am saying in effect. I don’t think we have any mission there.

Senator Case. We are not engaged de novo with a situation and, of course, we would agree with this. We are where we are and we have to work out of it; that is the point we are talking about.

Senator McCarthy. That is right.

The Chairman. I think the Senator has given us some good suggestions this morning.

Senator McCarthy. Thank you.

The Chairman. Major Arthur. Will you come forward, please, sir. You didn’t get to finish your statement yesterday. Please carry on.

May we have order please.

Major Arthur, will you continue please.

Testimony of
William E. Colby;
accompanied by
John Vann,
Hawthorne Mills,
and
Clayton E. Mcmanaway
— Resumed

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, would it be possible for me, perhaps, to offer a little clarification of one matter that came up during Senator McCarthy’s testimony.

The Chairman. Yes, Ambassador Colby is recognized, certainly.

EXCERPT FROM VUNG TAU TRAINING CENTER PAMPHLET: CONDITIONS IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Mr. Colby. The quotation from the Vietnamese document that was read during the past session also caught my eye when it was first put in the report of your staff members. When I found this in Saigon I looked around for the origin of that statement and I discovered it. I believe it was in the same book you were looking at and which you extended. {p.189}

I think, if you will look about two or three pages, or four or five pages ahead of that quotation you will see the date of October 1967 on that statement. I think that is the point. My reference to the tin roofs, and my statement about the extension of the security throughout the countryside do indicate that there has been a change in Vietnam in the past 2 years.

I think that this is obvious to most observers who have been there. It is obvious to the gentlemen who have come here with me. I think Senator Javits can indicate that he has seen it. Senator Harrison Williams was out there and I think he may report something about this. I suggest that the key difference here between our two reports really lies in the dates of the two reports.

The Chairman. I will have the staff check that and insert this as a footnote or an explanation. The date on the outside of the overall document is 1969.

Mr. Colby. Right, sir.

The Chairman. I did not read the part about which you are speaking, but that can be checked and will be corrected to reflect that.

Mr. Colby. The author of that particular document, Mr. Chairman, is an old friend of mine. He gave me a copy of that particular document earlier. He is the gentleman who is today running the Vung Tau Training Center. He is the gentlemen who, on one occasion, criticized publicly to our then Vice President Humphrey the corruption in the elite structure of Vietnam.

He is also the gentleman whom President Thieu has publicly endorsed and emphasized that he wished to continue this kind of teaching in that camp to all village and hamlet chiefs to try to inspire in them this new spirit to change the situation in Vietnam. I think this has been the thrust of the pacification program over the past year or so.

The Chairman. Thank you very much.

APPOINTMENT OF DISTRICT CHIEFS

Since we started this, I have one question with regard to yesterday’s testimony in order to keep the record straight. I believe you said that the district chiefs are not nominated by province chiefs. The background paper put out by the Embassy in Saigon and entitled, “Background Data on South Vietnam” states on page 4 as follows, and I quote:

“Directly below the province, districts are headed by a Chief appointed by the Minister of Interior upon the nomination of the province chief.”

Is that a correct statement?

Mr. Colby. I think that may be somewhat mistaken, Mr. Chairman. I have talked to a class of about 100 prospective district chiefs who were selected by the national Government and sent to a special course in their new duties before they were appointed, and certainly before they were even known to the province chiefs involved.

They then were assigned as district chiefs out around the country. I think that may be a slight mistake as to the formal way in which these people become district chiefs. They are finally appointed, in any case, by the Prime Minister.

The Chairman. Not by the Minister of Interior? {p.190}

Mr. Colby. By the Prime Minister today. He is the same man now.

The Chairman. When you go back, you can have them correct their bulletin.

Mr. Colby. We will do so, sir.

The Chairman. Major Arthur, will you proceed.

Testimony of
Maj. James F. Arthur, District Senior Adviser, Binh Chanh District, Gia Dinh Province, South Vietnam
— Resumed

Major Arthur. Mr. Chairman, for the benefit of the other Senators, I would like to introduce myself and tell what I do and then continue approximately where I left off with the statement yesterday.

The Chairman. All right.

Major Arthur. I am Maj. James F. Arthur from North Carolina. I am currently the district senior adviser from Binh Chanh District, Gia Dinh Province, Vietnam.

Senator Case. Which corps area is that in?

Major Arthur. That is in III Corps.

Senator Case. Thank you.

Major Arthur. I continue approximately where I left off yesterday.

SCHOOLS AND MATERNITY DISPENSARIES

The district has one high school which is located in Binh Chanh Village and 45 primary and elementary schools operating throughout the district. In addition, there are 10 maternity dispensaries located within the district.

VIETCONG INFRASTRUCTURE AND LOCAL GUERRILLAS

Binh Chanh sits astride the major routes of infiltration into the city of Saigon from the south and was used as a staging area during the 1968 Tet offensive. The primary targets of the district’s territorial forces are the Vietcong infrastructure and the local guerrillas which ideally would number approximately 30 per village and 12 per hamlet.

These Vietcong are prime targets because they are the ones who have the mission of terrorism, assassination, tax collection, propaganda and providing intelligence and guides for the main force units.

At the present time, the Vietcong infrastructure and local guerrillas have been reduced to squad and half squad size units per village and there is very little organization left at hamlet level. However, there are three under strength main force battalions whose areas of operation include Binh Chanh district. These units are normally based outside the district boundaries and send in small units to assist the local guerrillas in accomplishing their mission.

U.S. AND SOUTH VIETNAMESE FORCES

The district chief has 17 regional force companies and 25 popular force platoons under his command and in addition, there are three {p.191} ranger battalions, ARVN type, operating in the district. In the past, the 199th light infantry brigade was based in the district. However, there are no U.S. combat forces in the district now and the defense of Binh Chanh rests solely on the Vietnamese.

The primary mission of the territorial forces is that of providing security for the population while the ranger battalions have the mission of eliminating the Vietcong main force units. The 1970 plan calls for the regional forces to assume the mission of offensive operations and popular forces, assisted by the people’s self-defense force to assume the responsibility for protecting the population, thereby enabling the rangers to be released for duty elsewhere.

At the present there are eight regional force companies ready to assume offensive operations missions and the changeover should begin in March or April. The regional forces are rapidly improving and a number of the companies are able to handle sophisticated airmobile, cordon and search and raid operations.

Since September, the territorial forces have captured 36 Vietcong and killed 23, including two district level party committee members. During the past month, the territorial forces made contact with the Vietcong 11 times with only two of those contacts being Vietcong initiated.

People’s self-defense forces continue to be a problem area. According to Vietnamese figures they have organized 20,700, trained 5,800 and armed 1,782. As yet the PSDF advisor has been unable to get a physical count of the members; however, he has been able to monitor some of the training which is marginal at best. The only firm figure is the number of weapons issued and the adviser has been able to verify that the persons issued these weapons are actually performing security duties at night in the hamlets. I plan to place increased emphasis on this program during 1970 since a success in this area will increase identity with the Government and also free regional force companies for offensive operations.

VILLAGE AND HAMLET PROGRAMS

The program to improve village and hamlet government got off to a slow start, but by the close of 1969 all the staff positions at both village and hamlet level had been filled and the personnel trained by either the National Training Center at Vung Tau or the Gia Dinh Province Training Committee.

Village self development programs were slow starting due to the lack of trained village officials to handle them. However, once the program started it was well received by the rural populace. Small projects, 193, each costing 50,000 piastres ($423) or less, were approved by the village councils and 142 were completed.

Seven of ten projects in the 50,000 piastre to 150,000 piastre price range were completed. Four projects, each costing over 150,000 piastres, were approved by the Province Chief, but none were completed because the cost of materials rose before the projects could be started. The remaining projects will be completed during the first quarter of 1970, and the paperwork for the 1970 program will be initiated concurrently. {p.192}

CHIEU HOI AND INFORMATION PROGRAMS

The Chieu Hoi and Information programs did not do well during 1969 and special emphasis will be placed in these areas during 1970.

INTRODUCTION OF IR-8 RICE

IR-8 rice, which is a new miracle rice, was introduced into the district in June 1969 and results were outstanding. The program was well publicized and all indications are that the people have accepted the new rice and will plant more of it next season.

PROGRESS AGAINST VIETCONG

Progress has been made. When Lieutenant Colonel Di assumed command of the Binh Chanh Special Zone on May 8, 1968, there were 15 Vietcong hamlets and the majority of the rest were in the “D” and “E” category as reflected by the hamlet evaluation system (survey).

Today there are four “D” hamlets, 38 “C” hamlets and 18 “B” hamlets in Binh Chanh district. This is not an inflation of a rating system, but reflects the untiring efforts of Lieutenant Colonel Di, his staff and the advisers assigned to his district.

The Vietcong main force units have been reduced to one-quarter strength and local guerrillas are seriously under strength. The security situation has improved remarkably and every effort will be made to continue to improve it and give additional emphasis to rural development in 1970.

The Chairman. Thank you, Major Arthur.

CONDUCT OF HAMLET EVALUATION SYSTEM

You mentioned the hamlet evaluation system. How much of your time do you spend on the hamlet evaluation system?

Major Arthur. I spend about 60 percent of my time during the month in conducting the hamlet evaluation system survey. This is part of my job. I have to get out and visit every hamlet that I possibly can, and I manage to make most of them every month, and in doing so I look for the factors that are included on the HES worksheet to see what progress or what the actual situation in the village or hamlet is, at that time.

The Chairman. How many hamlets are there in your district?

Major Arthur. There are 60, sir.

The Chairman. Did you say you visit each one each month?

Major Arthur. I try to make it every month, sir. Sometimes I don’t.

The Chairman. It seems like an awful lot of hamlets to visit in 30 days. That is an average of two a day.

Major Arthur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. How soon after you became a district adviser did you begin filing the HES reports?

Major Arthur. I filed it the first month after I became the district adviser, sir.

The Chairman. How long do you spend in each hamlet? {p.193}

Major Arthur. Sometimes as little as 15 or 20 minutes, sir; sometimes as much as a couple of hours.

The Chairman. How much lower would the percentage of A, B, and C hamlets be if the hamlets were surveyed at night?

Major Arthur. The HES report includes activities that happen 24 hours a day. In preparing the hamlet evaluation I have a report of all the contacts that occurred during the month, where they occurred, what the results were, both night and day, both for operational contacts and ambushes.

Also included in the report are all the VC propaganda attempts and attempts at taxation or completion of propaganda missions and taxation. This includes nighttime figures also.

I think the HES as it stands now, sir, is a valid system which is correct in my district. I cannot speak for any of the other districts.

The Chairman. How do you know what goes on in the C hamlets at night?

Major Arthur. We have popular force platoons, some revolutionary development cadre, village and hamlet officials that are staying there who can give the reports to the district chief.

Also they bring up matters for my people who visit the hamlets to talk to them.

The Chairman. Have you ever downgraded any hamlets in your district?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. How many?

Major Arthur. I have downgraded three since I have been there, sir; and I have made numerous downgrade changes per month. Some go up, some go down, depending on the level of VC activity.

The Chairman. What kind of reports do you have to submit when a hamlet is downgraded?

Major Arthur. On the HES report, sir, is a section for comment of why it is being downgraded. I downgraded Da Phouc 4 for excessive taxation. I had five reported incidents occurring somewhere in the neighborhood of that hamlet during the month and this is a specific instance.

HAMLET EVALUATION SYSTEM REPORT

The Chairman. I don’t know how to put it in the record, but I think this sheet I hold in my hand indicating the type of information that you report on each hamlet each month, ought to be put in.

Major Arthur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. Are you familiar with it?

I will ask the reporter to do the best he can to put it in, but it is an enormous thing. There must be 50 or 60 questions. This seems like an impossible job.

(The information referred to is in the Committee files.)

PREPARATION OF HES MONTHLY REPORT

Do you speak Vietnamese?

Major Arthur. I speak a little Vietnamese, sir. My deputy speaks fluent Vietnamese, and he is responsible for handling questions 4, 5 and 6 on this report, which deal with the civil development and administration. {p.194}

The Chairman. Does he go along with you on these visits?

Major Arthur. He conducts his visits independently most of the time, sir. Sometimes we do go together.

The Chairman. Is he an American or Vietnamese?

Major Arthur. He is an American, sir — a Foreign Service officer, FSO-6.

The Chairman. I was wondering what you could do with this kind of a program with a form to be filled in in 15 minutes in any kind of a village, no matter what language you spoke, because you can see it is enormously complicated.

Major Arthur. I have a district team of 14 members that assist me, and I task them with various points to assist in preparing the HES.

The Chairman. When you go into a village for 15 minutes, do you take them with you?

Major Arthur. No, sir, they operate on their own during the day going around on the various programs that they work with, and they are looking at this also.

The Chairman. Are all these questions given equal importance and then averaged out or how do you accomplish this?

Major Arthur. There are letter grades assigned to it, sir, and I assume they are all of equal importance.

The Chairman. All are of equal importance? After you fill them all do you average it up?

Major Arthur. I fill it all in and send it to Province. They send it to III Corps and it is put into a computer and it comes back with a rating.

The Chairman. Some of these questions would be very difficult to answer. They are matters of opinion about what happens to whoever you talked to, such as “No reason to doubt whole party apparatus eliminated or neutralized.”

PHOENIX PROGRAM

The Chairman. Do you have anything to do with the Phoenix program?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir, I do.

The Chairman. What do you do about that?

Major Arthur. The district chief is concurrently the head of the Phoenix program and as his adviser I head the Phoenix program. I have a military intelligence first lieutenant who is the adviser, District Operations and Coordinating Center (DIOCC). He does the day-today nuts and bolts work there in the DIOCC.

The Chairman. Are you familiar with the incident that occurred in Baltimore not too long ago involving the two men who had been trained at Fort Holabird? Was that brought to your attention?

Major Arthur. Only what I heard about it in this committee a couple of days ago.

The Chairman. You do not know anthing about it?

Major Arthur. I don’t know anything else about it, sir.

USE OF HES STATISTICS IN CLAIM OF POPULATION CONTROL

The Chairman. It was called to my attention that the Chicago Tribune article of Mr. Samuel Jameson, to which I referred yesterday, {p.195} quoted you, Mr. Vann, claiming that the statement that the Government controlled 94 or 95 percent of the population was misleading. Could you explain that or why were the HES statistics misleading?

Mr. Vann. It is misleading when it is used in that fashion, sir.

The Chairman. What fashion?

Mr. Vann. Trying to measure absolute values. We use it as a management tool to indicate trends and to reflect changes in control of the population.

We feel that when you are asking questions of the nature of the HES questions there is a limit as to how much information you can get and as to the accuracy of the answers of each one. For this reason I personally, since I am a graduate statistician and helped originally to develop this report in 1967, feel that there are certain built-in biases in this report and that they are favorable.

But I also feel that the biases are constant. I have long deplored using this to claim that we controlled an absolute percentage of population, and instead have long used it to reflect that we controlled x percentage more of population now than at some other given period.

SECURITY SITUATION IN SOUTH VIETNAM

The Chairman. Could you, before you sit down, tell us what you think is the real security situation in the country, understanding as you do this bias?

Mr. Vann. I think generally, sir, that, first of all, in terms of relevancy, it is a much improved situation over what it has been at any time since I have been there in 1962.

Secondly, the trend line, which was going down in early 1968, has since March of 1968 been up. It has not been completely steady — sometimes it has been slightly erratic — but the trend has been generally up in security. The reason the trend has been up in security is that there has been a large increase in the number of Vietnamese troops; and, secondly, these troops have moved out from Province and district towns and into hamlets that previously were not occupied.

HES AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL

I am quite satisfied that as a management tool the HES is very worthwhile.

I would point out that before we had the HES, when you wanted to know what the status was in a hamlet you had to rely upon the judgment of whatever American or Vietnamese had been around in the local area the longest. It was a very subjective judgment at that time.

The Chairman. It is an attempt to make it much more statistical and objective than formerly is I guess what you said?

Mr. Vann. I think, sir, any management system has to work on certain basic data. I would point out that that HES report is not used just to measure security; it also provided for the first time in Vietnam a data bank on which hamlets had schools, which had wells, which had a hamlet chief who was sleeping in his hamlet at night, and many other factors that before we could only speculate about.

The Chairman. Yes. {p.196}

U.S. CIVILIANS AND MILITARY IN BIENH CHANH DISTRICT

Major Arthur, did you say how many Americans are in your district, civilian and military?

Major Arthur. I said 14.

The Chairman. Fourteen civilians.

Major Arthur. No, 14 people on my district team.

The Chairman. Fourteen military; how many civilians?

Major Arthur. The whole team is a combined organization. We have 14 people on the district team. In addition, I have five mobile advisory teams operating in the district which are under my operational control. They have five men each.

OPERATION OF PHOENIX PROGRAM AT DISTRICT LEVEL

The Chairman. Is there anything further you could add with regard to the way the Phoenix program operates at the district level that has not been covered?

Major Arthur. I support Mr. Vann’s point that the Phoenix program is a coordinated intelligence support. We have a wide variety of responses to take toward Vietcong units. Phoenix is not, as has been brought out before, an assassination tool. It is not used that way in any district that I know of, and certainly not in mine. It has a message section, a situation section, and an operations section, like any other military organization that I know of.

WHAT HAPPENS TO VIETCONG PICKED UP BY SOUTH VIETNAMESE?

The Chairman. Do you know what happens to a Vietcong who is picked up and turned over to the Vietnamese?

Major Arthur. Well, in our district they are picked up by the Vietnamese, so they are not turned over to the Vietnamese. They are doing all the picking up. We accompany some operations.

The Chairman. All right.

Do you know what happens to them after they are picked up?

Major Arthur. He is interrogated normally at district from anywhere up to 24 hours, held there, and then sent to the S-2 at province level.

The Chairman. Do you have any means of knowing what happens to him?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir. We get a report back down through intelligence channels of what the readout was on his interrogation, whether he was released at that level, whether he was held for further interrogation and what information was obtained.

METHODS OF EXTRACTING INFORMATION FROM CAPTURED VIETCONG

The Chairman. I am not sure that you can answer this. If you cannot I will understand. Do you have any reason to know, one way or the other, about the stories which have been reported from time to time about the methods used in extracting information from a captured Vietcong? Are you familiar with any methods that are used in that connection?

Major Arthur. I have seen some interrogations. I have seen one instance in which there was some force used and I mentioned it to my {p.197} counterpart. I have not seen it since and I have been around in interrogations. There has not been any more of this type of activity.

 

The Chairman. You have never seen them utilize helicopters in that connection?

Major Arthur. No, sir.

IS PHOENIX PROGRAM MISUSED?

The Chairman. Have you ever heard of any cases of Phoenix being misused for purposes of extortion or intimidation by Vietnamese or district officials?

Major Arthur. I have no knowledge of it and have never heard of it.

The Chairman. Senator Gore.

NEUTRALIZATION UNDER PHOENIX PROGRAM

Senator Gore. I wish you would give me a definition of neutralized.

As I understand from what I have heard and read, the purpose of the Phoenix program is to neutralize the political infrastructure of the NLF; is this correct?

Major Arthur. To answer your first question, the word “neutralize” means to me to capture, rally or to kill the Vietcong infrastructure of the Vietcong units. Phoenix operates both against the Vietcong infrastructure and against conventional and local guerrilla forces.

Senator Gore. I wanted to leave out of my question military operations. I am referring to the counter terror phase of the Phoenix program, as it has been described to me.

I understand it has been testified here that it is no longer a counter terror program. You say then that the definition of neutralize is to capture, rally or kill.

Major Arthur. That is my impression of the definition of neutralize, yes, sir.

Senator Gore. Do you give to the Phoenix director a goal within your district for neutralization of the political infrastructure?

Major Arthur. Well, there is a goal established by province. This is entirely a Vietnamese show. U.S. people are involved in an advisory capacity.

I might note for just a moment, sir, that Phoenix and the DIOCC is only one of the many programs I have going at all times in the district.

Senator Gore. Do you have any more programs going with the goal of capturing, rallying or killing civilians?

Major Arthur. No, sir.

Senator Gore. This is the total program of neutralization then?

Major Arthur. I think civilians is a bad word there. These Vietcong infrastructure are civilian members of the Vietcong, the political leaders and the brains, if you will, behind the organization.

They often, more often than not, have been found to carry weapons and are armed. There is a goal established, sir, and it comes down from the province level by the Vietnamese to the district. It is established for neutralization. {p.198}

Senator Gore. I think if I were in Vietnam, from what I know about it, I would want to carry a weapon of some sort, but I do not know that that is a test of whether a man is a member of the military or whether he is a member of the political infrastructure. Policemen carry weapons even in Washington, sometimes even in our high schools.

Major Arthur. These people are classified as guerrillas, sir.

Senator Gore. Who classifies them?

Major Arthur. I would have to defer just a monent {sic: moment}, if I may, to Ambassador Colby. There is a green book.

Mr. Colby. I think, Senator, we are talking about one of the complications of this war, that it goes all the way from a North Vietnamese uniformed soldier down to a local member of a political association.

Now, all of those are part of the enemy structure, and in between there are various levels of armaments, various kinds of organizations. This whole thing is part of the fight that is going on in Vietnam.

Senator Gore. True, it is a part of a civil war and we have taken sides. We have organized a counter terror program which we call Phoenix and the purpose of it is to neutralize either by capturing, rallying or killing the political infrastructure of the opposition to the Thieu regime.

Mr. Colby. I think, Senator, if I may, I would have to take some issue with certain of the ways you express this.

Senator Gore. I wish you would.

ENEMY FIGHTS ON A SERIES OF LEVELS

Mr. Colby. I think that one of the things we have learned out in Vietnam is that the war has been fought by the enemy on a series of levels: on a level of organizational effort, on a level of guerrilla effort, on a level of military effort, on a level of South Vietnamese effort, and on a level of North Vietnamese effort.

Now, for a long time we concentrated on assisting the Government of Vietnam to fight on the last two of those levels, the regular force actions.

Over the past—

Senator Gore. Of both the North Vietnamese—

Mr. Colby. North Vietnamese.

Senator Gore (continuing). —and the Vietcong.

Mr. Colby. And the southern main force units; yes, sir, Senator.

NORTH AND SOUTH VIETNAMESE PERCENTAGE OF ENEMY COMBAT STRENGTH

Senator Gore. And the southern main force units were the larger of the two?

Mr. Colby. It was; it is no longer, sir. In 1965, the balance of combat forces was something like a little less than 25 percent North Vietnamese, and about 75 percent South Vietnamese. Our intelligence analysis of the combat strength that we are facing today, and by this I mean the main and local forces — the full-time soldiers on the other side — now indicates through interrogations and through what we have learned of their organization, that the total enemy combat strength today is something like 72 percent North Vietnamese and only about 26 or 28 percent South Vietnamese. {p.199}

NUMBER OF NORTH VIETNAMESE MILITARY IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Senator Gore. The largest estimate which has been given to this committee throughout the war of the number of organized North Vietnamese military in South Vietnam has been 85,000. Can you give us an estimate of what it is now?

Mr. Colby. I am not at liberty to give it in the open, the exact figure, but it is higher than that today, sir.

Senator Gore. When you say higher, are you taking into your estimate the North Vietnamese troops that are stationed outside the borders of South Vietnam?

Mr. Colby. I am taking into account the ones who are in the immediate vicinity of the South Vietnamese border.

Senator Gore. That was not the question I asked you. I said within South Vietnam the highest estimates ever given to this committee were 85,000.

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir.

Frankly, we do not separate them out in that fashion because these troops are very mobile in the border area. In the area of the Cambodian border or the Lao border, the presence of units 1 or 2 kilometers one side or the other does not change the military situation that our people are faced with. They have to face that total force. For intelligence purposes, they consider it as one total force.

Senator Gore. Of course, they have to be—

Mr. Colby. This does not include the units which are quite a ways away, however, and are not an immediate military problem. It does not include the ones who are far up into the panhandle of North Vietnam or the logistic elements in the Lao corridor.

Senator Gore. I realize this is a question that will need to be examined in executive session, but this is the first evidence I have yet heard from anyone that the North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam exceeded the Vietcong units in South Vietnam.

Mr. Colby. They exceed the combat strength, Senator. It is important, unfortunately, to deal in these terms of art and I would not want to mislead you. I am talking about the combat units, the main and local forces. This does not include the guerrilla force. The guerrilla is another figure, and it is not in that proportion. But the full-time soldiers that you are dealing with are included in what I said.

Senator Gore. These terms of military art frequently remind me of Alice in Wonderland. I believe there was a character there who was going to declare her own terms and choose words with her own meaning.

The Communists have done that for a long time and we seemed to have learned the trick.

Mr. Colby. No, sir, it is not a trick, Senator.

Senator Gore. The formula then.

Mr. Colby. It is a formula we use because this is the way we use the information. You must, in order to fight the war, have in categories the different types of forces you are fighting so that you can identify clearly how much of your effort to put against the different forces. Therefore, you must break them down into these different elements. {p.200}

EXTENSION OF U.S. ASSISTANCE UNDER PHOENIX PROGRAM TO FIGHT NLF

Senator Gore. You were saying before we got into this question of the size of forces that the United States had long assisted the South Vietnamese Government in resisting and fighting people from North Vietnam and also the indigenous opposition called the Vietcong.

In the Phoenix program, as I understand you to say and you correct me if I am misstating your position, we moved to assist the South Vietnamese Government in fighting the political infrastructure of the indigenous political opposition in South Vietnam, which has been identified as the National Liberation Front.

Do I correctly state your position?

Mr. Colby. You are correct, Senator. We have extended our assistance over the past 2 or 3 years, from assistance merely on the purely military contest to assistance to the South Vietnamese to strengthen their local territorial forces which protect the hamlets and villages against the guerrillas. We have also extended our assistance and our advisory effort to include the police and internal security effort against the enemy terrorists, against the enemy’s command and control structure for the entire effort. It is the political structure that is the command element which gives the direction to the terrorists, to the guerrillas, and to the main force elements and, therefore, they are a very definite part of the total war effort.

COUNTER TERROR PROGRAM

Senator Gore. Would you mind explaining the difference between the Vietcong terror efforts against the political infrastructure of the Saigon Government, on the one hand, and the counter terror program of the South Vietnamese Government against the political infrastructure of their opposition, the NLF.

Mr. Colby. As I testified the other day, Senator, there is no longer a counterterror effort. Several years ago there was a short period in which that kind of an idea got loose.

Senator Gore. How short a period?

Mr. Colby. I would say a maximum of 6 months, between 6 months to a year.

Senator Gore. What was the goal of the counter terror program?

Mr. Colby. This was a period at which very little effort was being made against the political apparatus, the control structure, the terrorist structure of the enemy. It was determined at that time, with the Vietnamese Government, to organize some special groups to try to begin to work on this side of the total problem.

Now, they were given a very unfortunate name, and they also did some unfortunate things.

This was stopped, and I might confess that I had something to do with stopping it, because I just do not believe that this is going to be productive. There has been a change—

Senator Gore. You had no other reason, no conscience against organized assassination?

Mr. Colby. Sir, I have a conscience, Senator.

Senator Gore. Was that part of your reason is what I am asking? {p.201}

Mr. Colby. That was part of my reasoning, but it is also unproductive in the larger sense. It is not productive to do unconscionable things, I do not believe.

Senator Gore. Of course, I do not know how you would measure an estimate of productivity of a program and your reluctance conscientiously to engage in it. Do you have a measurement?

OBJECT OF TOTAL OPERATION IN VIETNAM

Mr. Colby. Senator, the object of this total operation in Vietnam was to strengthen the Vietnamese people and government against the challenge being made to it.

Senator Gore. By neutralizing their opposition?

Mr. Colby. No, sir. First, by strengthening their own cohesion and their own engagement and commitment in the effort, to change it from an effort conducted by officials and by soldiers to an effort which includes such organizations as the People’s Self-Defense, in which the ordinary citizen is given a weapon to help defend his home; and also by including in the effort a program of identifying clearly who are the key members of the enemy apparatus as distinct from the individual who is merely a member of a local farmer’s association.

PAST AND PRESENT GOALS OF PHOENIX PROGRAM

Senator Gore. This brings us back to the question I asked you some moments ago, to which I did not receive an answer. What were the goals of the Phoenix program when it was, by your terms, a counter-terror program?

Mr. Colby. The goals at that time were to begin to capture, rally, or kill members of the enemy apparatus.

Senator Gore. Those are still the goals now except you have begun. You are well into it now.

Mr. Colby. The difference today is that this is more integrated into the normal government and police and judicial structure of the Vietnamese Government.

At that time there was not a constitutional government. There was military rule. Since that time a constitution has been adopted, a government has been established, and a beginning has been made to establishing the kind of law and order that you would expect a government to produce.

Senator Gore. As I understand your answer, the goals are the same.

You used identically the same words — capture, rally, or kill. I do not quite get either a distinction or a difference in what it was when you called it and described it as a counter terror program and the Phoenix program now with the same goals.

Would you mind enlightening me?

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir.

I think the difference, Senator, as I indicated, was that at that time there were these special groups which were not included in the normal government structure. They were essentially guerrilla forces on the government side, organized to help conduct the fight against this aspect of the enemy.

Since that time, this has been more and more integrated into the normal government structure, and correspondingly conducted under the government’s rules of behavior. {p.202}

Senator Gore. What particular virtue does interrogation contribute to murder?

Mr. Colby. Senator, this is not murder. We are not talking of that.

Senator Gore. Or killing. I will use your terms.

Mr. Colby. We are talking of a fire fight that develops when a team of police, a group of soldiers, or a group of self-defenders goes out to attack and to capture, if possible, a leading member of the enemy command structure.

Now, they realize—

Senator Gore. When you say command structure, is this a word of art? Is this a village chief in an area in which the NLF has the predominant influence?

Mr. Colby. This is the chairman of the People’s Revolutionary Party for that village, for example.

Senator Gore. In other words, this is the community or village political leadership.

Mr. Colby. He has not been elected. There is another village chief in that village, Senator.

Senator Gore. I did not inquire about how he became a leader, whether he was elected under the constitution or otherwise. He is the local village political leader and the purpose of the Phoenix program is to neutralize him either by capture, rally, or kill.

Mr. Colby. He is an individual contending for power in that village. On his side. He is contending for power from the Communist side.

Senator Gore. Thank you very much, but I have overtrespassed my time.

Senator Cooper. I was not leaving because you asked questions. I have to go to the floor, but I will be brief.

IS UNITED STATES INVOLVED IN ASSASSINATION OR TERROR PROGRAM?

I have seen the newspaper article and the implication of the articles and also our questioning may suggest and wrongfully that the United States may be a part of, either by act or by advice, a program of assassination, the same type of program that the Vietcong directed against the South Vietnamese.

Now, does the United States, through your operations, have any program or one which is supported by our country, or a U.S. supported program of the South Vietnamese which directs assassination or acts of terrorism?

Mr. Colby. No, Senator, I do not.

If I might continue a bit with the same point, the Vietnamese Government has developed this program first of all to identify the members of the enemy political structure, to get their names clearly, to go through these seven or eight aliases, and then to try to capture them or to try to get them to rally.

Now, in the course of those actions, just as happened to John Dillinger, he may shoot back and he may end up dead.

The second area in which these figures show people being killed is that in the normal hamlet or village of Vietnam there are several ambushes around the outside of the village at night to keep marauding guerrilla bands away. {p.203}

When an armed band approaches that particular area, the ambushers do not stop to inquire too deeply as to who is there. They know that no one should be moving in that area, and they are aware of any friendly troops that are moving in that area.

At that point, a fire fight begins, and in the morning it is clear that several people have been killed.

By looking at the documents on the bodies, it can be discovered frequently that an individual was the head of a district committee or the local security officer for the village committee, or whatever. In that fashion, he is reported as killed.

But in direct answer to your question, Senator, the United States is not a party to a program to assassinate people in Vietnam.

Senator Cooper. I wanted the answer and I appreciate it very much.

U.S. ACTIONS IN EVENT OF ASSASSINATIONS BY SOUTH VIETNAMESE

We are all aware that in war situations things occur that do not occur in peacetime. Assume that you know or find out that there are assassinations by the South Vietnamese. Do you take any position? Do you advise against it, or is the United States just neutral about it?

Mr. Colby. No, sir, we have issued a directive to all members of the American community there, the members of the CORDS, the military, and the civilian advisers, that if they see a situation which does not meet the rules of land warfare, they are not only to refuse any participation, they are to make their objections known, and they are to report the fact that this happened to higher authority.

Major Arthur just mentioned the fact that there was an unfortunate interrogation that took place in his area, and that he objected to it, and it has since ceased. I think those are very clear directives to our forces and to our civilian advisers in Vietnam. I have a copy of that directive.

PROSECUTION, SENTENCING AND DETENTION OF VIETCONG

Senator Cooper. In the United States in time of war, in a combat zone, a writ of habeas corpus is not available. That is the law in our country, and also military trial is applicable in a combat zone in the United States. The Supreme Court decided that in the case of the Germans who were captured on the eastern seacoast.

Ex Parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942)  CJHjr

But when the leaders of the Vietcong are apprehended and taken into custody and are held in detention, is there any kind of legal process — I do not mean due process as we would expect in our country — but is there any kind of a process to determine whether or not those detained are in the command or political structure, whether or not they have been engaged in acts of terrorism or acts of assassination?

Mr. Colby. A Vietcong member who is captured, Senator, after being interrogated at the district level, as the major mentioned, is then sent to the province.

At the province level it is decided whether there is a case against him for criminal prosecution under security legislation. If so, he is sent to a military tribunal where be can be convicted of this particular crime. {p.204}

This tribunal is authorized to give a variety of sentences which are convictions.

There is a separate proceeding which he might be subjected to. This is called administrative detention. The Vietnamese word is An Tri.

If under the circumstances there is evidence to satisfy the executive that this man should be held because he is a danger to the State, then he may be held in detention for a period up to 2 years. This would then be extended thereafter by a review of his case.

Over the past year the Government has defined very clearly the different levels of participation in the Vietcong political effort. They have issued a detailed description of this which, I believe, we have provided to the committee staff. This identifies three levels of participation, called A, B, and C.

(The information referred to follows:)

______________________

VIET CONG INFRASTRUCTURE (VCI)

1. Definition: The Viet Cong infrastructure is defined as the political organization through which the Viet Cong control or seek to control the South Vietnamese people. It consists of the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP) structure (which includes a command/control and administrative apparatus — Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN) — at the national level), and the leadership and administration of a parallel front organization, The National Front for the Liberation of SVN (NFLSVN), both of which extend from the national through the hamlet level. The PRP is the southern arm of the Lao Dong or worker’s party the official Communist Party of North Vietnam. Several high ranking personnel in key positions at the COSVN level hold positions on the Lao Dong Central Committee which interlocks leaders of the PRP and Hanoi.

2. Not considered to be in the VCI category: (a) Rank and file guerrillas; (b) Rank and file members of front organizations; (c) Soldiers and members of organized VC/NVA military units; (d) Persons who pay taxes to the VC; (e) Persons who perform miscellaneous tasks for the VC; and (f) Members of the populace in VC-controlled areas.

______________________

The A level receives a 2-year sentence. The B level receives a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 2, because that is all that is authorized. The C level, or general follower, cannot receive more than a 1-year sentence.

Now, in actual fact, most of the C level are let go very quickly. The quotas, for instance, that we were discussing apply only to A and B levels. They do not apply to C levels.

U.S. IS NOT INVOLVED IN SYSTEM OF ASSASSINATION OF VIETCONG

Senator Cooper. In substance, you do say that the United States has not initiated, does not participate in, does not advise or condone a system of assassination of the Vietcong.

Mr. Colby. I do say that, Senator. I do submit that unfortunate things happen on occasion in Vietnam, and I would not pretend to say that no one has been wrongfully killed there; that I would not pretend to say.

But I think I frankly was quite heartened in the past few days by the appearance of two articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times. These articles were written by very serious reporters who were obviously told to go out and look carefully into this Phoenix program in preparation for these hearings.

They have come up with some well-stated criticisms of the program. We are aware of these weaknesses in the program and the difficulties {p.205} of getting this program done. This is not novel in Vietnam, unfortunately.

But in the course of their stories they do not mention any of the kinds of abuses that have been suggested here. In fact, I believe the Washington Post story by Mr. Kaiser states that he was unable to find any evidence of that kind of an incident.

Now, several years ago I think he would have been able to find that kind of evidence. I am very pleased to indicate that apparently his researches have not proved that to be occurring now.

Senator Cooper. Thank you very much.

Senator Case. Mr. Chairman, I guess you signified that you wanted me to proceed.

The Chairman. Yes, you may proceed. We may have a vote pretty soon, I am told. I wonder if we can come back this afternoon. We have two more witnesses. Can you come back for a while this afternoon?

Senator Case. I can come back.

The Chairman. Go ahead until the bell rings, but we are expecting a vote on the Mondale amendment.

POSSIBILITY OF CORRUPT USES OF PHOENIX PROGRAM

Senator Case. On this new program, Colonel, why don’t you come up here and sit here because I have a couple of questions that I would like to address to you on your statements yesterday. But for the moment, I would like to pursue this Phoenix thing a little further, and you have already introduced it, Mr. Ambassador, and the line of questioning I wanted to bring out is based largely on Robert Kaiser’s story in the Post.

He does say, I do not think quite as flatly as, perhaps, you suggested, that there was no present evidence of assassination, but that he had not been able to find any direct evidence of it, and, in general, plays down the Phoenix as an assassination or counter terror operation. But he does make criticism of it, as you suggest, too.

One of them is its potential for use by ambitious politicians against their political opponents, not the Vietcong at all. And I take it you are conscious of this possibility.

Would you comment on it?

Mr. Colby. This is a possibility, Senator, and this possibility has been raised in the Vietnamese Legislature.

The Vietnamese Legislature called the government to account on a series of stories that they had heard in various provinces about this. They interrogated the government and indicated that they were concerned about it.

Any program can be abused, of course, if the parties in power wish to do so. This is true of the armed forces or the Administration or any other. But to date it is our impression that this is not being used substantially for internal political purposes, if you except the Communists from the area called internal.

Senator Case. So Mr. Kaiser states. He talks about this as a potential, and certainly it is a potential because it involves roving bands of government agents with, in effect, kangaroo court powers if they are exercised. {p.206}

Mr. Colby. Yes, it is. They are not really roving bands, Senator. They are members of the police and military apparatus. They are under the command of the appropriate level of authority, the province chief and the district chief. They are part of the government structure.

Senator Case. But this possibility does exist.

The article says, ¶

“Phoenix contributes substantially to corruption. Some local officials demand payoffs with threats of arrest under the Phoenix program, or release genuine Vietcong for cash.”

What about that?

Mr. Colby. I would say that occasionally that happens, yes. I could not give you a percentage of how often this happens. It is a problem not only in the Phoenix program; it is a problem in other programs.

The shakedown is a problem in a variety of nations around the world. All I can say is that I have heard the President and the Prime Minister on many occasions give very strong directions that the focus of the effort is on the Vietcong, that this is the object of the operation, and that it is not to be used for other purposes.

INCONSISTENCY IN GVN ACTION AGAINST MR. DZU

The Chairman. Will the Senator allow me to ask a question? Can you tell us, where is Mr. Dzu, the man who ran second in the last election? Is he still in jail?

Mr. Colby. Mr. Dzu is in Chi Hoa jail in Saigon.

The Chairman. How do you reconcile that with your statement of the very objective view of the Prime Minister? I do not see how you do reconcile it.

Mr. Colby. He was not arrested under the Phoenix program, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. I know. I realize that. I mean this estimate of yours of their high-mindedness in this matter. This has always puzzled me. How you can defend an administration that did that to Mr. Dzu and apparently are going to give it to Mr. Chau, too. That is all.

It does seem to me quite inconsistent with what you said about it.

Mr. Colby. I believe I was discussing the Phoenix program, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. I understand that. But you say they are giving instructions to be so careful not to use the program for political purposes, when Thieu himself has put a man in prison for no other crime that we know of than that he ran second to him in the election.

Senator Case. I think that just, perhaps, suggests this is a privilege reserved for the higher officials. [Laughter.]

The Chairman. I see.

PHOENIX PROGRAM’S FOCUS ON LOW-LEVEL OPERATORS

Senator Case. A third specific suggestion about this program is that it is helping the Vietcong more than hurting them, by throwing people into prison who are just low-level operators even under duress, and not really enemies of the regime, and alienating a substantial number of people in a population who ought to be persuaded to come on the side of the Saigon Government. {p.207}

 

Is this also true?

Mr. Colby. Well, of course, Senator, as I will bring out in later testimony, there is an active program to invite members of the enemy to join the government’s side, a very energetic program.

Senator Case. I understand that.

Mr. Colby. So if they would join the government’s side they would be welcomed.

Senator Case. I understand—

Mr. Colby. As for your point, however, this has been a problem. The government adopted the A, B, C classifications of the members of the apparatus so that the lower levels would not count as part of this program, and so that they would not be the object of the effort.

It was an effort to downgrade that kind of targeting and to focus on the key members of the enemy apparatus, and I believe they have had some success.

Senator Case. That is the general objective, but how about the quotas? Are the quotas met by anybody?

Mr. Colby. No, sir; the quotas are only met by A’s and B’s not by C’s.

A’S, B’S, AND C’S

Senator Case. Tell us roughly who is an A, who is a B, and who is a C.

Mr. Colby. There is a detailed breakout in this green book, which is in Vietnamese.

Senator Case. Just tell me.

Mr. Colby. The A levels are People’s Revolutionary Party Members, party members who are obviously fellows who have gone through the candidate stage and become convinced members of the enemy apparatus.

The B level are leaders of the various front groups, the leading elements of the so-called farmers association in an area, the other senior people who are trying to give actual leadership, although they may not be party members yet. The C level are generally the rest of the people who participate in the actions.

EFFECTIVENESS OF PHOENIX PROGRAM

Senator Case. Now, Mr. Kaiser sort of switches it around and says this model bears small resemblance to actuality. He says the thing has hardly worked at all, and the main reason is that the Government, Saigon people, military and whatnot, the military officials supposedly on the Government side, are not interested in prosecuting it.

They do not want to disturb things. They would rather take their chance with things as they are, not upset people. They do not want to go after the Vietcong.

Mr. Colby. Senator, I used to be quoted to the effect that I did not feel that the operation had begun to hurt the enemy at all. I have changed my evaluation in the past, I would say, 2 to 3 months.

I do not think it is being all that effective yet, but I do believe it is beginning to bite.

The normal VCI now goes with a bodyguard. He does not live in the village any more. He lives out in the forest, in the safe area. This is beginning to put some pressure on this apparatus. {p.208}

There are many things to be done to improve it. Beside the ones mentioned here, I know a few of my own. We will try to improve these and make it work the way it should.

It is having some impact now, though I think it is increasingly having an overall positive impact as distinct from the possibility of counterproductive impact which it may have had some time ago.

VIETNAMIZATION OF PHOENIX PROGRAM

Senator Case. Kaiser concludes his piece by saying ¶

“‘Vietnamization’ of Phoenix has, in a sense, already been completed,” ¶

so far as the Americans involved. As you said, they were advisers, and he says that some officials think most of them should be withdrawn. ¶

“‘We have done all we can,’ one official said. ‘If they want to get the VCI they can do it. We can’t do anything more.’”

Mr. Colby. As for the wanting to eliminate this, Senator, I believe that there are—

Senator Case. Our participation in it.

Mr. Colby. Yes, but both the national leadership and the local leadership have a considerable interest in eliminating this Vietcong terrorist effort.

As I brought out yesterday, over 6,000 people were killed last year in the course of these terrorist incidents. Fifteen thousand were wounded. This is a very serious business to the local village chief, to the local district chief, to the local province chief. They know who is organizing this kind of a program. It is this apparatus. So they are anxious to do it.

Now, the Government made a further step on October 1 when they changed the program from being a private government effort to a public program. They publicized it; they made it the subject of leaflets and banners, and so forth, with the theme that this program protects the population against terrorism.

Since that time they have published leaflets with the pictures of people who have been wanted. Some of these people have come in; some of them have been captured; some of them have been reported on by their neighbors as a result of being identified through this program.

The People’s Self-Defense Force has been assisting in carrying out this program of identifying and picking up members of the other side.

Senator Case. I take it, in general, you operating gentlemen, you, Colonel, Major, certainly would not disagree — I would assume you would not disagree — with the Ambassador?

Mr. Colby. If they wish to, sir, they are quite at liberty. They are under oath to tell the truth.

IS PHOENIX PROGRAM BEST WAY TO DO THE JOB?

Senator Case. Is this the best way to do the job? Is Phoenix all that important or are the negative sides equal to the positive value in your experience?

Mr. Mills. Senator, I would say it is a job that has to be done one way or the other in the same way that the FBI—

Senator Case. Would you identify yourself?

Mr. Mills. Yes, sir. {p.209}

I am Hawthorne Mills, Province Senior Adviser in Tuyen Duc. I testified yesterday in your absence.

I would say this job has to be done. There are some questions about the Phoenix organization, as a manmade mechanism to go about rooting out the underground organization, is the best way to do it.

Senator Case. That is what we are talking about. Nobody, at least this Senator, is in any way criticizing the idea of a successful effort in South Vietnam.

Mr. Mills. Yes, sir.

Senator Case. But this Senator is questioning this particular thing and its effectiveness and the dangers involved in it, whether it is counterproductive.

Mr. Mills. Yes, sir.

I think the Phoenix program was designed to overcome some of the weaknesses in the counterintelligence organization of the Vietnamese Government. This may be a further step toward the situation in most countries of the world, wherein the police or the national equivalent of the FBI handle this type of program. The Vietnamese police are playing the effective part in this.

It may be that some of the weaknesses which have been pointed out are weaknesses in the operation of this thing, but not in the concept.

I think there has been a misunderstanding which has come out today that somehow or other the Phoenix program is operating against innocent civilians who are working under the normal political rules. This is not the case, as the Ambassador pointed out.

These are organizers of the terrorist activities that the Vietcong are conducting. I would say that in Tuyen Duc Province the Phoenix program is a great advance over what was being done in the past.

But, perhaps, as security conditions allow, the normal police can take over this operation, and this will be, perhaps, a better way of handling it.

TRIAL AND DETENTION UPON EVIDENCE OF VC CONNECTION

Senator Case. It says here that if there is some evidence of a Vietcong connection, the people apprehended are brought to trial before a provincial security team. That is before the Phoenix team, I take it?

Mr. Colby. No, sir; that is the provincial security committee. That is made up of the province chief, the deputy for administration, the chairman of the provincial council, the province judge, the chief of police, and a few other officials on the province level.

Senator Case. Is that the way normal criminal justice is administered?

Mr. Colby. No; it is not. That is the second system. That is the administrative detention proceeding.

The other system is a military tribunal that can give a real conviction after a full trial.

Senator Case. Then people are not, so far as you know, at least the rule is that they are not, punished beyond detention without such a trial?

Mr. Colby. No, Two-year detention is the rule. It can be extended.

Senator Case. So it is indefinite detention, which is possible by these terms? {p.210}

Mr. Colby. But normally they are released, Senator.

Senator Case. Is there anything you want to say, either of your colleagues?

Mr. McManaway. The detention is not decided by the team, sir; it is by the security committee.

Senator Case. Which has just been described.

Mr. Colby. Yes.

Senator Case. Major?

EFFECTIVENESS OF PHOENIX PROGRAM IN BINH CHANH

Major Arthur. Yes, sir. In reference to your question as to how it is working and whether it is the most effective tool to accomplish the mission, it is not working all that well in Binh Chanh district.

During the months of June through December, with a quota of 80, they got 46 VCI. However, it is better than what they had before. It is an honest effort to collate all the intelligence that comes into the district to get it in one central place and get it together so they can identify the people who are causing problems.

Let me give you an example. In An Lac Village, about the first week in November, a Vietcong terror team came in and assassinated an old man by taking him out and bayoneting him. They left his body on the road with a message. He was a distant relative of the district chief.

District forces, regional and popular forces had conducted an armed raid from An Lac 1 to An Lac 4. They had a fire fight and killed one terrorist. The other one never was seen again.

Approximately a week later, the Vietcong went into An Lac 4 and went to the home of a woman whom they suspected of telling where they were hiding. They bayoneted her. They came back the next night and killed her son and nephew.

We put everything we could together — revolutionary forces, development cadre, the district intelligence squad, the PF platoons normally assigned to the village, the PSDF, the whole thing, everything. This went on for about a month, but didn’t get anything really at all.

Then we got some intelligence that they were going to be coming back into the village, and we increased the security, particularly in the area they thought they would come in.

A fire fight did ensue that night, and when the bodies were identified, one was Le Cong Dong who was the An Lac Village chief for security. He was the head guy who had been sponsoring all this assassination by the Vietcong.

So it does work. This was not specific targeting. We just knew they were going to come back into the village at some time, and we thought it was going to be a certain night, and increased the security of that village.

Senator Case. This village chief—

Major Arthur. He is still in business.

Senator Case. He was ostensibly a representative of the Saigon government, their village chief, but turned traitor.

Major Arthur. No. sir. He was on the Vietcong side as the Vietcong security chief for the shadow government of An Lac Village. {p.211}

Senator Case. Was he discovered in the village or was his identification, his identity, discovered later?

Major Arthur. We knew who he was. We knew the leader. He was identified once he was killed. Documents on the body identified him as such. We were not sure whether he would be coming back with that three-man or four-man guerrilla squad at night.

Senator Case. Is there anything further, Colonel, that you would like to say about this program?

PROBLEMS OF PHOENIX PROGRAM IN THE DELTA

Mr. Vann. I would just like to add a comment or two, Senator Case.

I have some 2,500 American advisers in the Delta. By and large, their standard of morals and ethics are about the same as that of the normal American. They are normal Americans.

We, on a continuing basis, do have problems in all programs, and certainly in the Phung Hoang program, because we have in many cases people who are given responsibilities who have either not had adequate training or proper training or have not had adequate experience in the discharge of the responsibilities on the Vietnamese side.

In many cases leaders develop who have motivations that are not for the effort but are personal, and so you do have aberrations that take place on the part of these people.

You have people who are abusing this program or any other. You can have a good program such as simply building a school become a tool for corruption when instead of the man building a school he will sell the cement or will sell half the cement, and you end up with walls which might fall down on the children.

Visitors to Vietnam, and particularly reporters, when they go out into the Delta, and we have 725 villages—

DELTA VILLAGES AND HAMLETS

Senator Case. Excuse me. By villages you mean what we call small towns?

Mr. Vann. No, sir, these are groups of towns. We go to what we call—

Senator Case. You mean a collection of villages?

Mr. Vann. A village is a collection of hamlets. A hamlet is what we would call a small town. A hamlet may be as little as 50 people, or it may be as many as 15,000 or 20,000. We have 4,205 of these hamlets.

Senator Case. The average, just to give a little more of the picture, the average population of that hamlet is about what?

Mr. Vann. The average population of a Government-controlled hamlet in the Delta is 1,600. The average population of a Vietcong-controlled hamlet in the Delta is about 850. This just reflects the fact that where there is better security and better economic opportunity there will be a greater cluster of population. —

TENDENCY TO REPORT EXTREMES IN PHOENIX PROGRAM

What I wanted to say was that, as a reporter or a visitor or an analyst goes through he looks for the unusual. When you are looking {p.212} into the Phoenix program the normal course of operations does not make news, and it is not worthy of separate analysis.

Therefore, there is always a tendency to report the extremes, and so, even though in 725 villages we may have village administrations that are functioning well in the main, when you find one that has a corrupt village chief or one who has taken the police and the popular forces who have been assigned to him and who is using them to collect rentals for absentee landlords or using them to bully the people, that becomes kind of a cause celebre. When it does we try to focus attention on it and try to correct it.

But I must say as a citizen that I to some extent resent the implication that we Americans would be over there aiding, abetting, assisting, or directing a program which was designed to assassinate civilians, particularly civilians that may or may not be members of the opposition. We don’t. In my instructions, I have often said to the advisers:

You are the conscience not only of the American effort but, because this is a very young country, and because it has been subject to revolution, you are also the conscience of the Vietnamese effort. You must at all times be aware of your responsibility to see that standards of human decency apply.

This is just standard practice on our part over there. But when these exceptions get reported, and particularly when they are used by people who are in basic disagreement with the policy in Vietnam as a means of criticizing the effort, they are taken out of context. They in no way reflect anything that is normal.

Senator Case. I think your latter point is the kind of evidence that we want. I do not believe there are many people who suggest that Americans do this for the fun of it. I am sure this is true. There are many who have questioned whether it may not inevitably, may not inherently, be so susceptible to bad use and to corruption in an area like this for a thousand reasons that the question is whether or not it is desirable overall. That question, I take it, you have constantly under review yourself.

I assume that this is so.

Mr. Vann. We do, sir. I might even add that—

The Chairman. I wonder if the Senator will allow me to interrupt. There is a vote going on. The bell rang a moment ago. I think we ought to make it.

Can you gentlemen come back at 2:30? Would that be all right, or a quarter of 3.

Mr. Colby. At your convenience, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Well, it is 1 o’clock now. Make it a quarter of 3 to give you time for lunch.

Senator Case. I will let the colonel finish.

(Whereupon, at 12:50 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 2:45 p.m., this same day.)

AFTERNOON SESSION

The Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, before we let Major Arthur go, there is one more question I would like to ask. Is Major Arthur there? {p.213}

Testimony of
Maj. James F. Arthur
— Resumed

Major Arthur. Yes.

The Chairman. It is not a very complicated question; it was left dangling.

DOES DEFENSE OF BINH CHANH REST SOLELY ON SOUTH VIETNAMESE?

You said in your statement that there are no U.S. combat forces in the district now and the defense of Binh Chanh rests solely on the Vietnamese.

That seems to be such a positive flat statement, I wondered if you would elaborate. What support does the United States contribute?

For example, in engagements with the enemy, are American helicopter gunships called in? Is there American artillery support or what kind of air support does the United States provide, if any?

Major Arthur. Sir, the Vietnamese provide their own artillery support. We do have helicopter gunships support on call. Maybe on an average of once a week a fire team of two gunships will be in the area and operate for 15 to 20 minutes. This is the extent of the U.S. combat support we are getting. We do not have any tactical air and no tactical air has been called since I have been in that district. It is available but we have not called it.

The Chairman. Then would you say it is accurate to say that it rests solely on the Vietnamese? That is a little bit of an overstatement; is it not? Or do you think the gunships are of no significance? Are they de minimis?

Major Arthur. Pardon me, sir?

The Chairman. Do you think the support of gunships is of no significance, so that they are unworthy of notice?

Major Arthur. Well, they do contribute some added firepower.

The Chairman. All I am arguing about is the statement when you say, “solely on the Vietnamese.” If you have gunships, the way we have had these gunships described, they are quite useful instruments in the slaughtering of people. Are they not?

Major Arthur. Well, not in the slaughtering of people, sir.

The Chairman. Killing them, whatever you like to call it. They have very powerful fire power; do they not?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir; they do.

The Chairman. What do you call it? Do you prefer to say killing or slaughtering?

Major Arthur. I would prefer to say killing or delivering suppressive fire so the infantry can close in with the enemy.

The Chairman. That sounds nicer.

Major Arthur. Or force them out of the water so they will surrender.

The Chairman. It sounds nicer. I thought in discussing the war there is no point in trying to make it sound like a tea party. I mean their purpose is to kill people; is it not?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir.

The Chairman. That is the whole purpose of the operation in the military sense; is it not?

Major Arthur. No, sir. {p.214}

The Chairman. What is the purpose?

Major Arthur. The purpose, of course, would be to get them to surrender or to capture them, if possible.

The Chairman. If they don’t, kill them; isn’t that right?

Major Arthur. Yes, sir.

DEFENSE OF BINH CHANH DOES NOT REST SOLELY ON SOUTH VIETNAMESE

The Chairman. I am a little slow in semantics I guess. I have not had the training you have had out there in how to describe these activities. But the point I was making is that I did not realize, and I do not believe it is accurate to say, that it rests solely on the Vietnamese. What are all these troops doing out there if it rests solely on the Vietnamese? That is the only point of the question.

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman—

The Chairman. Do you insist that “solely” is an accurate description?

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, I believe the major was probably thinking in terms of those forces in the district rather than those that are available from outside. I think your point is well taken.

The Chairman. It does not rest solely on them.

Mr. Colby. That is right.

The Chairman. That is the whole point. We are trying to make this as accurate as we can. I am not trying—

Major Arthur. Are there any further questions, sir?

The Chairman. No, that is all.

Now, we have Mr. William K. Hitchcock, who is the director of the refugee program.

Mr. Hitchcock, do you have a statement?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes, I do, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. Do you wish to proceed at this time, please, sir?

Testimony of
William K. Hitchcock, Director, Refugee Directorate, CORDS

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As the committee knows, the United States is providing substantial assistance to the Government of Vietnam to help mitigate the distress of Vietnamese people dislocated by the war. This effort, Ambassador Colby has explained, is part of the pacification program. The problems of assisting these people, however, present special challenges, and the Government of Vietnam has set up an integrated organization to deal with them at the central, regional, and provincial levels of government.

I am happy to have this opportunity to give you a report on this program and our efforts to help move it forward. My statement contains information on the background of the present situation, developments in 1969, problems we continue to confront, and our estimation of future prospects. {p.215}

DISPLACEMENT OF VIETNAMESE PEOPLE RESULTING FROM 1954 GENEVA AGREEMENT

Although other large-scale displacements of people have occurred before in Vietnam’s history, two of them can be directly related to events in Vietnam since World War II. The first occurred as a result of the Geneva Agreement of 1954 which gave all Vietnamese people 300 days to choose whether they wanted to live in the North or the South. Estimates vary, but to the best of our knowledge, approximately 900,000 civilians moved south and about 75,000 went north. Almost all of those who went south were absorbed into the community in about 3 years’ time and they constitute an important element of South Vietnamese society today.

The Chairman. Would you mind an interruption at that point?

NUMBER OF REFUGEES AND ASSISTANCE IN MOVING SOUTH

There was a piece in the paper the other day about the 900,000 that moved south. President Nixon in his November 3 speech, which was, as you know, widely noted in this country, said, and I quote: ¶

“ * * * the million and a half Catholic refugees who fled to South Vietnam when the Communists took over in the north.”

Richard Milhous Nixon (U.S. President, Jan. 20 1969-1974 Aug. 9), “Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam” (White House, Oval Office, November 3 1969, 9:32 p.m.), 1969 PPPUS 901-909 {html, 621kb.pdf} {Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1969, SuDoc: GS 4.113:969, ISSN: 0079-7626, LCCN: 58061050 pf, DL, LFDL, WorldCat}CJHjr

How do you reconcile those figures? I noticed that in your statement.

Mr. Hitchcock. I had not noticed that figure, sir, and I do not know that I have ever seen the source that has quoted a million and a half; a million is closer.

The Chairman. I have not either. I thought perhaps they had called upon you or in someway or other had checked it with you.

How did these people get to the South? Did the United States take them in American ships primarily?

Mr. Hitchcock. The United States was involved; so, also, were the French. I am not quite sure. Perhaps, Ambassador Colby may remember the story.

Mr. Colby. They went south in ships, Mr. Chairman; they went south in aircraft; they went south by walking — a variety of ways. But they were assisted by the United States very distinctly.

The Chairman. That is what I mean; I read that.

Mr. Hitchcock. There was very definitely assistance.

The Chairman. OK. Will you, however, check on that figure and see what the background is for the record? It seems to me there is such a discrepancy between 900,000 and a million and a half. Not now; you do not have to do it now, but later.

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir, we will.

(The information referred to appears on p.748.)

DISPLACEMENT OF VIETNAMESE PEOPLE DURING INTENSIFICATION OF WAR

Mr. Hitchcock. The second large-scale displacement of people developed with the intensification of the war in the mid-1960’s. The refugees of this period are defined as people who have had to leave their homes and their means of livelihood to escape from Communist pressures, from artillery or bombardment, or from the crossfire of war. {p.216}

Over 3 million people, almost 20 percent of South Vietnam’s total population, have sought refuge during the past 6 years. Unlike World War II European refugees who moved from conntry to country, South Vietnam’s displaced people have remained within its own borders. They moved in large or small groups from Vietcong-controlled areas or from combat zones to some place nearby which offered them relative security. Virtually no one has voluntarily left places controlled by the Republic of Vietnam either for Vietcong-controlled areas or for North Vietnam. Most of them have been at least temporarily resettled in new locations or returned home as improved security conditions permitted.

In March 1969, 1,450,000 were still on the government’s refugee rolls; by the end of December the payment of allowance had reduced this number to 270,000. An individual is removed from the active refugee caseload when he receives the payments he has been promised; a refugee site, on the other hand, continues to receive assistance until it is physically and economically up to Vietnamese standards. The completion of most individual payments in 1969 permits efforts in 1970 to be concentrated on establishing normal living conditions and a basis for achieving economic self sufficiency at each inadequate site.

Aside from regular refugees, well over a million other people have seen their homes destroyed or have had their lives otherwise disrupted by the war. They receive special assistance as war victims. What distinguishes this group from refugees is that the war-related distress they suffer does not drive them away from their homes or their established means of livelihood for more than transient periods of time. ¶

And, finally, there are numerous war widows, orphans, and physically disabled men, women, and children who require more and better organized help.

{And finally finally, there are the dead.  CJHjr}

The Chairman. Before you leave that page, what is the payment of allowances to which you referred?

Mr. Hitchcock. That, sir, comes a few pages later in my statement.

The Chairman. Does it? OK.

Mr. Hitchcock. I take it up in detail.

The Chairman. OK. I did not know. That is all right. Proceed.

Mr. Hitchcock. These are the groups of people that have been the concern of this program since it began. They represent the principal problems of human distress among the civilian population. The scope and even the nature of the problems fluctuate with developments in the conflict. Whenever military activity is intense, the number of people displaced increases. Conversely, whenever the level of combat subsides and the armed forces have restored territorial security, refugees return home, or, if they prefer, resettle themselves and their families in new locations. In either case, they are helped by their government. Encouraging progress has been made during the past year, but the fact remains that fully satisfactory solutions to some of these problems will not be possible until the fighting stops.

BACKGROUND OF PRESENT SITUATION

Now let me be more explicit about the background of the present situation. As the conflict intensified from 1965 through 1967, there was a tremendous increase in the number of people who had to flee their {p.217} homes in search of safety. Much has been said about the heavy concentration of this refugee movement in the northern part of the country (or I Corps) where the fighting was the heaviest. It was substantial there, but the pervasive character of the conflict created refugees all over the country, and it did so in ways that varied a great deal in each of the four regions. For example, in the delta (or IV Corps) area, many people fled their homes, but, given the relative ease of subsisting there, they were quickly assimilated and they never became the obvious problem represented by people in northern refugee camps. In fact, many of the refugees in the delta never sought government assistance of any kind at the time they became refugees, and their number only began to become apparent as security in the countryside improved and they started returning home in 1969.

 

Saigon also presents a special kind of situation. Much of the influx of people into the city undoubtedly was motivated by a search for greater physical security, but they were able to find jobs quickly and they have become an almost indistinguishable part of their new environment. This is not to say that their adjustment, or the adjustment of the large numbers of people who came to Saigon for other reasons, has been satisfactory. Both groups pose a continuing problem, but it is being tackled as an urban rather than a refugee one.

Throughout the country, but particularly in the camps in the north, the continuous stream of people who sought refuge between 1965 and 1967 created widespread confusion and uncertainty about how to deal with the situation. The challenge of taking care of so many people in the difficult conditions of the war was enormous; and, lacking an adequate program or even the resources for one, the Government of Vietnam’s response to the problem was understandably slow and hesitant.

The extended family system, which constitutes the basis of Vietnamese life, consists of large tightly knit groupings of several generations of relatives. It is the extended family which traditionally has cared for individual members afflicted by misfortune; the concept of government responsibility for the welfare of individuals used to be virtually unknown. The war, however, severely disrupted this system and created burdens which far exceeded the remaining capacity of the family structure. This required a fundamental change in the customary role of Vietnamese Government and the assumption of new responsibilities.

BEGINNING OF GVN REFUGEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND U.S. ASSISTANCE

Against this background the Government’s refugee assistance program got underway; but for some time it was an inadequate response to the problem, and the refugees often had to fend for themselves.

In the United States mounting concern — including the constructive interest of the Senate — focused attention on the plight of these unfortunate people, and the tempo of American efforts to assist increased significantly. I should emphasize that, from the outset, the problem was recognized as basically a Vietnamese one requiring Vietnamese solutions. But we accepted the responsibility of doing everything we could to help. In 1966 the combined efforts of both governments were concentrated on developing an organization, recruiting and training people, locating financial resources, and identifying the {p.218} kinds of assistance required in varying refugee situations. Logistics support also was a prime requirement and building it up was a time-consuming process. As these organizing efforts proceeded throughout 1966 and 1967, Vietnamese Government officials were gradually learning how to take care of displaced people. The program that began to emerge incorporated a number of political and strategic considerations, but basically it was, and is, a humanitarian undertaking.

1968 COMMUNIST OFFENSIVES

By the end of 1967 the stage was set for an organized all-out attack on the problem of the large number of persons who remained in refugee status. Then the Communists launched their Tet offensive in January 1968, followed by offensives in May and August. These enemy attacks, mostly on cities, resulted in over 1 million war victims — people who were injured or whose homes and property had been damaged or lost, but who did not have to move away from their means of livelihood. Throughout 1968, assisting these people took almost all the resources of the Government organization that had been built up to deal with the refugee problem, but, by the end of the year, virtually all of the million-plus war victims were back under roof and on their jobs. This was a substantial achievement, given the chaotic circumstances existing at that time. It also contributed greatly to the confidence of the Vietnamese Government in its ability to meet this kind of crisis and to the confidence of the people in their government.

1969 FAVORABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN REFUGEE PROGRAM

You have heard Ambassador Colby describe the accelerated pacification campaign which was initiated at the end of 1968. The results of that effort, particularly the extension of security over a large part of the countryside, plus the increase in GVN self-assurance, were the main reasons for the favorable developments in the refugee program in 1969, in which it was possible to give largely undiverted attention to the overarching refugee problem. Adequate financial resources also were available, and trained American and Vietnamese personnel were located throughout the country. So were the logistic supplies such as roofing, cement, blankets, mosquito netting, and foodstuffs. By this time the Ministry of Social Welfare had also issued detailed instructions on what to do and how to do it.

3 GVN REFUGEE PROGRAMS

The GVN refugee programs do not involve extensive assistance to any single individual or family, simply because the number of needy people is so large and the amount of available resources to help them is limited. This is generally what happens: soon after refugee families reach secure areas those who seek assistance are housed in Government-provided temporary camps. Each newly-arrived family gets emergency food commodities for 7 days, followed by a 30-day temporary allowance, which includes more than food, which is normally extended until the family can return home or begin to settle elsewhere. The amount of assistance given to families being resettled or to those returning home is the same: 10 sheets of aluminum roofing and 7,500 {p.219} piasters for each family and 6 months’ rice ration or its piaster equivalent for each family member. I might say this averaged for a family of five about $180. The out-of-camp refugees — those who do not seek shelter in Government-provided sites — are usually largely self-resettled, but they are given 1 months’ rice ration and are eligible for the standard amount of assistance when, and if, they return home. You will find details of the amounts of these different refugee allowances and of the payments made to war victims in two charts which have been attached to my statement.

(The information referred to appears on pp.224 and 225.)

The Ministry of Social Welfare also provides refugee resettlement camps with wells, latrines, classrooms, simple health facilities and services, vocational training, and where land is available, vegetable seeds and other agricultural assistance. The most important and the most difficult problem is to give the refugees the opportunity to rebuild their lives — to give them some hope for the future. I will discuss this later in my statement.

Before leaving the subject of allowances I should add that the general adequacy of food supplies in Vietnam and the existence of almost full employment in the cities are important factors which lessen the amount of government assistance these displaced people require. Without these factors the condition of Vietnamese refugees, which often still is unsatisfactory, would be immeasurably worse.

1969 ASSISTANCE TO REFUGEES

As I indicated earlier, last year over 1 million of the 1-1/2 million refugees on the rolls in March 1969, received the individual resettlement allowances they had long been promised. Some 100,000 new refugees and about 225,000 war victims also were assisted during the year. Moreover, approximately 488,000 refugees were given help by the Government in returning to their homes as security improved in their native hamlets and villages. This number of returnees included all categories of people who had previously fled from their homes — those in-camp and those out-of-camp, those previously resettled, and those never previously recorded. We estimate that approximately another 100,000 refugees have returned home and have not yet received Government assistance. Having returned on their own, they are now in the process of being registered and validated. I believe this movement home was the most significant step forward last year, representing as it does the reoccupation of many parts of the countryside formerly abandoned to the Communists. In this sense it adds a new dimension to the pacification program.

EXAMPLE OF KIEN PHONG PROVINCE

One example of this development in 1969, one of many, can be seen in Kien Phong Province in the Delta where 18,936 refugees, many of them previously unrecorded, returned to their original homes. Fourteen thousand of them returned along the Thap Muoi Canal, a major supply route from the Delta to the metropolitan Saigon area, which had been closed since 1966. Almost as soon as territorial security forces established new outposts along the canal in 1969, the population began {p.220} to move back. The area is now 75 percent populated by former refugees who have rebuilt their homes and replanted their fields, and the canal is crowded with commerce. As new outposts are constructed, refugees do not wait for an announcement that the pacification has been completed. Instead they return while it is in process, convinced by the experience of others that they will be able to resume the lives they once knew.

PROGRESS IN REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT

The demands of resettling themselves have encouraged the inventiveness, ingenuity, and self-reliance of the refugees throughout the country. For example, one group from Binh Dinh Province in II Corps resettled on a sandy area in Ninh Thuan Province, also in II Corps, where they have been able to develop a prosperous livelihood raising onions, garlic, watermelons, and a number of other crops on small plots of sand. They have built an irrigation system which not only supplies water for themselves and their crops, but for two neighboring hamlets as well. Then, too, a number of refugee farmers who returned to their homes in Thua Thien Province, which is in I Corps, pooled half their rice allowance to buy 232 rototiller tractors, which enabled them to cultivate their land rapidly and thereby become self-supporting much more quickly. Incidentally, in Thua Thien Province alone approximately 130,000 refugees have returned to their native villages, rebuilt their homes, and reopened their land.

Most of the refugees in II, III, and IV Corps who were resettled away from their native homes are now satisfactorily situated in economic and social circumstances comparable to those of other citizens in the Vietnamese village hamlet political system. Arable land is generally available for refugees in these regions, and many of them who are not farmers have been able to reestablish themselves as fishermen, craftsmen, laborers, and other self-supporting members of their communities.

A statistical view of the number of refugees on the rolls and progress in return to village and payment of resettlement allowances is given in tables and graphs attached to this statement.

(The information referred to appears on pp.224-227.)

PLIGHT OF REFUGEES IN I CORPS CAMPS

Problems remain, but the one that is particularly difficult is the plight of a large number of people, mainly in I Corps, who have not been able to return home and who are living in crowded, far from satisfactory, camps. Most of these camps are in the three southern provinces of I Corps — Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai. Rehabilitation of refugees is more difficult there for several reasons. Arable land was scarce in these provinces long before the refugees began to concentrate in the areas that were relatively secure. Security is not as good as it is in other provinces with large numbers of refugees. Big enemy units operate in the area and the frequency of military action creates a great deal of disruption in the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to improve the living conditions of refugees there. In contrast to other areas, most of the refugees in these provinces are in camps and most of these camps are economically unviable ones. {p.221} Some camps are located in islands of relative security in areas which are otherwise insecure. Access to them often may be possible only by helicopter. They are subject to fairly frequent Vietcong or North Vietnamese Army attacks.

In Quang Nam, for example, on December 23 last year at Thanh Quang Hamlet in Duy Xuyen District, a plastic device exploded among a group of Catholic refugees watching a Christmas play. Resulting casualties were five killed and 65 wounded, 20 still in serious condition. Most were women and children. On January 4, NVA-VC units shelled the refugee camp at Go Chua in Duc Duc District, in the same province, with 12 rounds of 82-millimeter mortar fire. Fourteen were killed, 55 were wounded, and 15 houses were destroyed. At the same time, two were killed, 15 wounded, and five houses destroyed in Loc Quy, a nearby hamlet in the same district.

Almost all of these I Corps refugees want to go back to their homes, but most of them will not be able to do so in the near future. The payment of resettlement allowances in 1969, to all but about 150,000 of them, has set the stage for a concerted effort in 1970, to improve the economic and physical conditions of life at each of the sites.

Several projects are already underway. For example, the refugees are being introduced to techniques for improving yields of crops, particularly of vegetables, grown on marginal land. Handicraft projects have been organized. Small industries, and I mean small, such as peppermaking, responsive to the needs of the area are being developed. In those cases where untilled, secure land exists in reasonable proximity to a refugee camp, the Ministry of Social Welfare is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance to make it available. Public Law 480, title II, food is being distributed to the needy people in these campsites, and some food-for-work projects are taking shape. But these efforts are not yet adequate solutions for the stubborn, complex problems confronted. More needs to be done. And, even if presently-planned projects are successfully executed, the condition of some of these refugees will remain less than satisfactory until they can return to their homes.

PROBLEM OF CONTINUING INFLUX OF NEW REFUGEES

Another problem is the continuing, though substantially reduced, influx of new refugees generated by military actions. For a brief period in the mid-1960’s, forcing people to leave outlying areas was seen as a way of denying the Vietcong manpower they could exploit. Many, of course, sought refuge on their own as a way of escaping such exploitation. However, most refugees over time have probably been created by the intensified fighting and its accompanying destruction. Instructions issued in 1967, and expanded in 1969, require military operations to be conducted in such a manner as to minimize property destruction and the generation of refugees. These instructions, along with the geographical shift of heavy fighting out of populated areas toward the western frontier, the extension of territorial security, and the general decline in the level of military activity, have been major factors in reducing the number of new refugees.

When an operation is planned which is likely to result in a substantial displacement of people, prior permission must be obtained {p.222} from the Central Pacification and Development Council and arrangements must be made in advance by the military for taking care of them until the Ministry of Social Welfare can bring organized assistance to them. The basic principle of this policy is that security should be brought to the people, not the people to security. One exception has been the temporary removal of people from an area in which military clearing activities are underway. People so moved are the responsibility of the allied armed forces and they are returned home immediately after the military operation is concluded, usually within a week or two. If their homes have been damaged, the Vietnamese Government assists them as war victims, not as refugees.

In recent months there have been a few cases in which military forces have moved people for more than temporary periods without obtaining the required approval in advance. This means that the Ministry of Social Welfare is not always aware of the problem soon enough to avoid delays in providing assistance in an organized way. As these cases arise, we have taken steps to remedy them as quickly as possible.

POLITICAL OBJECTIVES OF REFUGEE PROGRAM

The refugee program has important political objectives, although the techniques used to achieve them are more social and economic than political. The Government of Vietnam’s hope is to normalize the lives of refugees as soon as possible and to do this in ways which introduce an element of confidence on which they can rebuild their lives. This usually means giving them an economic base they can exploit. Almost invariably they prefer farming or fishing. Elections are held as soon as possible in the resettled or revived villages. Once the village administrative machinery is set up, refugees are able to take part in local self-government as full Vietnamese citizens. They also gain access to such other sources of assistance as the village and provincial development funds. The availability of these normal government resources is important, but additional help for these people also is usually required. Refugees being resettled in new locations are involved in building a hamlet from the very ground up. Those returning home face a similar problem because their hamlets usually are entirely, or at least partially, destroyed. The goal of all these efforts is to make the refugee once again a regular citizen, living in conditions not noticeably different from those of other citizens, hopeful for the future but well aware of the fact that it will depend largely on his own efforts.

IMPACT OF REFUGEE PROGRAMS

The impact of these programs is difficult to assess. The recipient’s appreciation usually is obvious, and there is little doubt that the Government benefits from this attitude, even in cases where benefit payments may have been delayed for a long time. Understandably, few refugees enjoy their lives. Almost all of them want to return home as soon as possible, but they usually wait until they are convinced the area is reasonably safe. Virtually no one wants to reexpose himself to the insecurity or exploitation which caused him to seek refuge in the first place. {p.223}

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR REFUGEE PROGRAMS

Financial assistance for these programs comes largely from the United States. The Government of Vietnam budget defrays the cost of personnel, space, supplies, some war damage claims, and other miscellaneous Vietnamese expenditures. The budgeted costs of the United States and the GVN and an estimate of private voluntary agency contributions are given for the last 3 years in an exhibit attached to this statement. This exhibit shows that U.S. support, both in dollars and piasters (AID-generated) and in Public Law 480 title II commodities, was equivalent to $65.4 million in fiscal year 1968 and $70.2 million in fiscal year 1969; $59.3 million is estimated for fiscal year 1970. These costs should drop considerably beginning in calendar year 1971, if the favorable trends of 1969 persist and security conditions throughout the country continue to improve.

(The information referred to appears on p.228.)

Thirty-two private voluntary agencies, mostly from the United States, are actively engaged in refugee and social welfare programs, and their reported annual budgets total approximately $25 million a year. This is a major contribution and much of it comes from individual Americans. The programs of these organizations are effectively carried out and they are deeply appreciated by the Vietnamese people and their Government.

Finally, the military forces of the United States, Vietnam, and others engage in numerous civic action projects which, though difficult to assess in terms of cost, have become a valuable part of the total effort. In addition, military units, operational military units, provide substantial help to new refugees from the moment they first arrive in secure areas until they are turned over to the GVN refugee program.

PEOPLE WORKING ON REFUGEE PROGRAMS

Apart from the budget it is important to make a few observations about the number of people working in Vietnam on these programs. The GVN Ministry of Social Welfare has by far the largest number, having built its staff up to an authorized strength of 1,900 from about 125 in January 1966.

I might digress to say that until March 1966 they had no organized governmental agency to cope with this kind of problem at all.

At the present time, 1,536 of these positions are filled, 637 in Saigon and 899 in the field. American and third country voluntary agencies have 431 specialists from abroad and 741 Vietnamese employees. From a high of 116 positions authorized and 109 on board in early 1969 — up from 18 in January 1966 — the U.S. official advisory group at present consists of 79 people in the country against an authorized strength of 97. This reduction in the number of U.S. advisers has been possible largely because of the increasing competence of the Ministry of Social Welfare staff. Further reductions will be made by the end of 1970 if present trends continue and if the program remains unchanged. I am attaching a table which shows the breakdown of both GVN and CORDS staffing.

(The information referred to appears on p.228.) {p.224}

American refugee advisers are stationed in all provinces where there is a substantial problem. If the numbers of displaced persons are small and we do not require a full-time adviser in the province, we draw on other members of the provincial advisory team, or, in emergencies, we send specialists from the regional offices or Saigon.

ACTIVITIES PLANNED FOR 1970

This year the Vietnamese Government, with our help, will concentrate on the following activities:

1. Assisting people to return home wherever security conditions are adequate.

2. Improving the viability of life in refugee sites whenever it is not possible for refugees to return home in the foreseeable future.

3. Concluding benefit payments to the remaining 270,000 refugees on the rolls.

4. Taking care of any new refugees who may be generated, and

5. Augmenting presently inadequate programs of help to other types of war victims such as widows, orphans, the disabled and the aged needy people.

SUMMATION

To sum up: Although Vietnam has had a long history of population movements, the problem which concerns us now arises out of large-scale displacements of people and other hardships they have suffered during the past 6 years.

It took a considerable amount of time to develop and staff an organization capable of dealing with a crisis situation of this kind. By the end of 1967, the Vietnamese Government was providing emergency assistance to the refugees, helping some of them to resettle themselves or return home, and preparing for large-scale rehabilitation programs. This effort was disrupted during most of 1968 by the Communist Tet offensive and their offensives in subsequent months.

From November 1968 to date considerable progress has been made in paying refugees the allowances due them, in returning almost 600,000 to their homes, in resettling many of the remaining refugees, and in starting out on a program to assist war widows, orphans, and other disabled people.

The three southern provinces of I Corps remain a special problem.

Our primary tasks in 1970 will be to continue our efforts to help those people who still are refugees — or who become refugees — to return to their homes or to effectively resettle elsewhere.

(The attachments referred to follow:)

______________________

REFUGEE BENEFITS

 


{table to come}

 


{p.225}

 


WAR VICTIM BENEFITS

 


{table to come}

 


NUMBERS OF REFUGEES BY CATEGORIES — 1969

 


{table to come}

 


{p.226}

REFUGEE POPULATION 1969

 


{table to come}

 


{p.227}

 

NUMBERS OF REFUGEES RETURNED TO VILLAGE OR PAID RESETTLEMENT ALLOWANCES, 1969 1 

 


{table to come}

 


The payment of resettlement and return-to-village allowances represents only the GVN’s responsibility to individual refugee families. In addition, the GVN accepts responsibility for assistance to the resettlement or return-to-village community to foster its economic viability and a normal life for all its members.

 


NUMBERS OF REFUGEES RETURNED TO VILLAGE OR PAID RESETTLEMENT ALLOWANCES *  1969

(Cumulative in Thousands)

 


{table to come}

 


The payment of resettlement and return-to-village allowances represents only the GVN’s responsibility to individual refugee families. In addition, the GVN accepts responsibility for assistance to the resettlement or return-:o-village Community to foster its economic viability and a normal life for all its members. {p.228}

 


SUPPORT FOR REFUGEE AND SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAM

[Dollars shown in thousands]

 


{table to come}

 


 


______________________

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Hitchcock.

Mr. Hitchcock. Thank you.

The Chairman. That is a very thorough description, I think, of the program.

OTHER LARGE MIGRATIONS OF PEOPLE IN VIETNAM

You mentioned one thing that caught my attention. You said that there have been other large migrations of people in Vietnam. To what did you have reference prior to this war? {p.229}

Mr. Hitchcock. My understanding of Vietnamese history is not deep, Mr. Chairman, but even at the beginning, before around 200 B.C., it began as a nomadic movement of people to escape out of China. Throughout history there have been a number of Chinese invasions and some internal insurrections and movements of the people.

Many people characterize the history of the country as a recurring movement of the people of this kind — possibly not of this magnitude.

The Chairman. Has anything like this occurred since the French took the country about a hundred years ago?

Mr. Hitchcock. Not to the best of my knowledge.

The Chairman. Did the French displace many people when they moved in? I am just curious.

Mr. Hitchcock. Not to the best of my knowledge.

The Chairman. I had not heard about it.

Mr. Colby. There was one additional movement, Mr. Chairman, in the period of about 1958 to 1962, when the Diem government was moving substantial numbers of refugees up into the highland areas who had formerly been in the lowlands. There was a certain excess of population in the lowland areas, but also there were some refugees from North Vietnam. They went up into the highland areas and established new communities in that part of the country.

Vietnam has spread over two millenia from its source in the Red River Valley around Hanoi. It began moving south about 1450, reaching the area around Saigon only in 1750.

In the course of that, they essentially pushed out of the way a whole civilization called the Chains, and they also pressed the Khmers, Cambodia’s ancestors, back out of the way.

You have also had a substantial movement of Chinese down into South Vietnam in the period around the turn of this century.

The Chairman. What percentage are the Chinese now? Do you know?

Mr. Colby. It is pure guesswork; but I mean that it is not only mine, but it is basically guesswork. It is in the neighborhood of a million, we would estimate.

The Chairman. Out of the 17 million?

Mr. Colby. Out of the 17 million.

REFUGEES GENERATED BY RELOCATION

The Chairman. You said in your statement that for a brief period in the sixties, forcing people to leave outlying areas was seen as a way of denying the Vietcong manpower they could exploit.

You do not have any refugees created by this program?

Mr. Hitchcock. Sir, the subject of refugees created in those years is extremely vague. The reporting of figures was done hardly at all in many cases, and very imperfectly in the rest.

This becomes a part of the total figure that I estimated of something over 3 million in the last 8 years, but in the last 4 years there have been something approaching 2 million — a couple of hundred thousand less than 2 million — so possibly in the period of 1965 and late 1964 there may have been a million. I am not sure of how long this particular approach of relocating people persisted, but it was in the 1965-66 period. {p.230}

In 1966, there were about a million refugees generated, but I cannot say that they are all attributable to that, by any means.

EFFECT OF WAR ON VIETNAMESE EXTENDED FAMILY SYSTEM

The Chairman. You said previously, I believe, that the extended family system looked to the family for taking care of people in this unfortunate circumstance. They had never looked to the government before. Is that right?

Mr. Hitchcock. That is, by and large, true, as I understand it. That is, as you undoubtedly know, a common part of the societal structure in Asia — the extended or joint family structure, in which they each take care of themselves basically. During the war large numbers of people have been killed or displaced, and many people have fled from one area to another; in this process there has been a dismembering effect on the family unity to the point where that which remains of the extended family structure is no longer capable of doing that which it did traditionally. One other manifestation of it is that sometimes a family gets so dismembered that a man may be in the service, the wife has had to become the breadwinner, and she has had on frequent occasions to put their children in orphanages.

You frequently find orphans in Vietnam who are, in fact, literally not orphans. One or possibly both parents may be alive. But this is a manifestation of this breakdown of the family structure.

EFFECT OF WARS ON UNITED STATES

The Chairman. There was a time in this country not too long ago in which this was more or less the custom; wasn’t it?

Mr. Hitchcock. Not to my knowledge.

The Chairman. We have not always had social security and Government intervention; have we?

Mr. Hitchcock. What, sir?

The Chairman. We have not always had social security and government intervention in America; have we?

Mr. Hitchcock. No.

The Chairman. This is rather recent development in this country; is it not?

Mr. Hitchcock. It certainly is.

The Chairman. When do you think it started in this country?

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, it began in a rather meaningful way, I think, in the early thirties — 1932.

The Chairman. Subsequent to World War I?

Mr. Hitchcock. Subsequent to World War I.

The Chairman. Do you think that there is any association at all between war and the development of these things?

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, war obviously creates basic social dislocations.

The Chairman. It certainly does.

Mr. Hitchcock. And problems which society feels it has to deal with, I presume consciously, in the circumstances which are created.

The Chairman. It is rather ironic that war seems to be the principal enemy of what we used to think of as the self-reliant free enterprise system: isn’t it?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes. {p.231}

The Chairman. There is no greater force that leads to socialization of a country than war; is there? Wouldn’t you agree?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes, and also, unfortunately or fortunately a great deal of technological advance is usually stimulated by wars.

The Chairman. What do you mean by that? To what do you have reference?

Mr. Hitchcock. I mean, in World II many of the advanced techniques which have now widespread ability and application — radar may be a case in point — were a consequence of the kind of money that was made available.

The Chairman. Do you think those are very significant counterbalances to the misfortunes which are brought about?

Mr. Hitchcock. No; I would not argue that for a second.

The Chairman. I thought you were suggesting that.

Mr. Hitchcock. No.

The Chairman. Just think; we could even point to going to the moon. We have had two wars, and we can now go to the moon. Doesn’t that make you feel good?

Mr. Hitchcock. I do not know quite how I feel about that sir. [Laughter.]

The Chairman. You are very wise not to say anything.

My greatest misfortune is that I have a tendency to say what I think about these things. One should not do that in Washington.

CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION OF REFUGEES AS RESETTLED

In your figures about the refugees in March of 1969, you state there were 1,450,000 still on the Government’s refugee rolls and it had been reduced to 270,000 in December. A Mr. David Hoffman, writing in the Washington Post, which is a rather well-known local journal of which you probably have heard—

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes, I know the article.

The Chairman (continuing). —Says:

American advisers report from the countryside, however, that tens of thousands of refugees are being erased from the rolls and reclassified as resettled citizens without being productively resettled.

This raises the question: Has there been any change in the last year in the policy of who was considered to be a refugee and what constitutes resettlement?

Mr. Hitchcock. I welcome Mr. Hoffman’s article, but there was a failure in the article to point out that the rehabilitation of refugees has been a two-part process. Some of the difficulty of achieving it I have already described for the I Corps area. Part of the process, and an essential part of the process, is to pay the people the allowances which they have been promised. These are allowances which are essential for rehabilitation; the second part is to upgrade, to improve situations in which they find themselves, whether it be a camp or whether it be their former home, to which they have returned.

Now there has been a lot of confusion about this. I think it is important to make it clear that in 1969 the Government of Vietnam decided that it would give first priority attention to making the payments to refugees, payments which were long delayed in many cases, and that to the extent they had resources, they would simul- {p.232} taneously do this upgrading of the sites on which the refugees were located.

They did do that with some measure of success in II, III and IV Corps areas.

In I Corps — and in I Corps I am talking only of the southern three Provinces of I Corps — they did not have the same measure of success for the reasons I stated.

In the northern two Provinces of I Corps, the one next to the DMZ, Quang Tri, and the next one down, Thua Thien, it was impressively done, with a couple of exceptions in each case.

The Chairman. Do I take it that the answer to the question is that you have not changed the criteria by which you determine whether a person is resettled or not?

Mr. Hitchcock. No, we have not, sir.

PRESENT NUMBER OF REFUGEES IN SOUTH VIETNAM

Senator Symington. How many people are considered refugees in South Vietnam now?

Mr. Hitchcock. This is a rather complicated question, sir, but on the active case rolls at the moment are 270,000 who have yet not received their benefits. Their allowances for resettlement have not been received. This does not mean that those who have received all their allowances have been satisfactorily resettled, as we were discussing just before you arrived—

Senator Symington. How many of these are there?

Mr. Hitchcock. This gets into the highly estimative field, but I would guess about 520,000 have received their allowances and are not satisfactorily resettled.

Senator Symington. You would add 270,000 to those?

Mr. Hitchcock. No, I would include those 270,000.

Senator Symington. So, 520,000.

Mr. Hitchcock. These are in camps which still need attention. Many of the people in those camps have already received their allowances.

RESETTLEMENT ALLOWANCES AND SITES

Senator Symington. What do you mean by allowances exactly?

Mr. Hitchcock. It is a resettlement allowance given.

Senator Symington. How much?

Mr. Hitchcock. It amounts to about $180 a family.

Senator Symington. Who pays for it?

Mr. Hitchcock. It is paid by the Government of Vietnam with money provided by the United States.

Senator Symington. What do they do with that money when they get it?

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, this is a kind of grubstake that eases the building of their homes, the development of some means of livelihood, whether it be farming or fishing or trade, and provides a cushion of 6 or more months.

Senator Symington. Six or more months?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes.

Senator Symington. Where do they go with it? {p.233}

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, most of these people are in camps which are being resettled. We call them resettlement sites.

Senator Symington. Is that where they are going to live permanently?

Mr. Hitchcock. Possibly not permanently, sir. My opinion, sir, is that there are a great number of people being resettled now because there is no alternative. They say, “We want to return home when the war ends.” They want to return to the homes that they left, but we do not resettle people if the chances of their returning home are imminent.

REFUGEES IN CAMPS AND RESETTLED

Senator Symington. You have 520,000 now?

Mr. Hitchcock. In camps which still need assistance.

Senator Symington. How many were here, say, last year?

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, we had at that time 1,450,000 people in March on the active case rolls, of which—

Senator Symington. Does that mean that 900,000-plus have gone home?

Mr. Hitchcock. No. I sort of hesitate to get involved in the problem of numbers, because they sometimes do not add up to the total. During the year 1969 about 600,000 people have returned home. Now, they are people who came from out-of-camp situations, from in-camp situations, from camps previously resettled completely, and camps that were in the process of being resettled. So, it is not a deductive figure. Nevertheless around 600,000 went home.

Senator Symington. Are they back where they came from?

Mr. Hitchcock. By and large, they did when security was extended.

Senator Symington. How many did you add to the number?

Mr. Hitchcock. Add to the number?

Senator Symington. Yes.

Mr. Hitchcock. For what?

Senator Symington. How many people came into the camps; 600,000 went out — how many came in?

Mr. Hitchcock. 114,000 new refugees came in. This compares with about 300,000 the previous year, 400,000 the year before that, and upward of a million the year before that.

COST OF REFUGEE PROGRAM

Senator Symington. How much did your program cost the United States, all told, last year?

Mr. Hitchcock. The total last year was $70.157 million. The program for fiscal year 1970 is anticipated at $59.2 million.

Senator Symington. What was it in 1968?

Mr. Hitchcock. $65.3 million.

Senator Symington. In 1967?

Mr. Hitchcock. $70 million: 1969 was the year in which the impact of a lot of the special 1969 Tet assistance fell.

Senator Symington. They have pretty heavy inflation over there: haven’t they?

Mr. Hitchcock. They have substantial inflation.

Senator Symington. Then, if $180 was right 2 years ago, why is it still right today? {p.234}

Mr. Hitchcock. The basic reason is that the Vietnamese are increasing their capability of doing this type of work. We have reduced quite a bit the amount of dollars. The piaster input has increased, but the net has definitely decreased, and I would anticipate—

Senator Symington. When you say “increased capacity of doing this work,” what do you mean by that?

Mr. Hitchcock. The problem of handling this kind of displaced people, people who have lost homes, whose homes have been destroyed.

Senator Symington. What amount has the Vietnamese Government put in?

Mr. Hitchcock. The Vietnamese Government provides personnel; it pays for some war damage claims and other miscellaneous Vietnamese services. Their contribution to this program is small.

Senator Symington. How much would you say per person?

Mr. Hitchcock. Per person, I do not know, sir, but their total has run about $4 million, its equivalent or a little more, each of the last 3 years.

Senator Symington. Then, you divide that into the number of refugees. You could; couldn’t you?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes; but that is such a fluctuating number that it is hard to do the mathematics.

Senator Symington. You could get a rough amount.

Mr. Hitchcock. The amount that each family receives in allowances, whether they are resettling in a new location or returning home is the equivalent of about $180, which is paid in piasters or in aluminum roofing.

NUMBER AND SIZE OF REFUGEE SITES

Senator Symington. How many places have you where you put these refugees?

Mr. Hitchcock. At the moment, we have 646 refugee sites. There were 841 at the beginning of 1969.

Senator Symington. How many of those are in the I Corps, for example?

Mr. Hitchcock. I do not have that figure offhand.

Senator Symington. Will you supply that for the record?

Mr. Hitchcock. I can certainly get it. (The information referred to follows:)

______________________

There are 162 sites in I Corps.

______________________

Senator Symington. The II, III Corps, and then in the delta.

Mr. Hitchcock. There are practically no formal sites in the delta, although for administrative convenience we have counted some clusters of people as a site. They are included in this number of 646.

Senator Symington. What is the average size of a refugee camp?

Mr. Hitchcock. It varies tremendously. In I Corps the average size is 1,902; II Corps 986: III Corps 776; and in IV Corps the average is very close to zero because most are out of camp. There is one very large site in the northern part of I Corps of 20,000 which is considerably the largest.

Senator Symington. 20,000.

Mr. Hitchcock. 20,000

Senator Symington. Acres? {p.235}

Mr. Hitchcock. 20,000 people. It is right near the DMZ.

Senator Symington. I meant in size, in area.

Mr. Hitchcock. I cannot tell you, sir.

It is on a sand spit. It is not a good location, and we have had major problems.

Senator Symington. It must be a pretty sizable spit if you have 20,000 there.

Mr. Hitchcock. True, but it is sand, nonetheless. We have had a difficult time making land available in I Corps, but we recently have had land opened up by extension of security in the immediate area.

REASONS REFUGEES LEFT HOMES

Senator Symington. Has any analysis been made of the breakdown between the number of refugees who left their homes because of harassment from the VC and those who left because of allied military operations?

Mr. Hitchcock. Attempts, but none of them succeeded. It is very difficult to determine the reason why an individual or a collection of refugees leave their homes. I did say in my statement, sir, that in general it appears that the majority of refugees have left home to escape the crossfire of war.

Senator Symington. I had better go vote. We will be right back.

(Short recess.)

POSSIBILITY OF CORRUPTION IN REFUGEE PROGRAMS

The Chairman. Mr. Hitchcock, how much of the aid furnished by the United States and destined for the refugee programs is lost in the pipeline to the refugees.

Mr. Hitchcock. I do not know, sir. I have been very conscious of the possibility of diversions. There have been occasions when it has been alleged that not all got to the refugees. Those cases are all investigated and in one instant case I can recall since I have been there, a service chief was jailed; a service chief is the social welfare ministry representative in the province.

There probably are greater chances for misrepresentation (not diversion) in the assessment of damage to villages and hamlets that are attacked.

I have noticed that the number of occasions when the percent of houses destroyed is given as 20 to 50 percent is relatively small compared to the times when it is given as 50 to 100 percent. There are different amounts of allowances paid for these differing amounts of damage. But I have seen no evidence and have heard of no evidence of alleged widespread or significant corruption in the program.

The Chairman. You have not?

Mr. Hitchcock. I have not.

The Chairman. No more than is normal?

Mr. Hitchcock. No more than you might say normal.

The Chairman. We hear stories. I have not heard any, as a matter of fact, of any significance about refugees. Most of them have been with regard simply to the regular aid program, the import program of commodities. There has been a lot of that in the past. I do not recall having heard too much about corruption in the refugee program {p.236} itself. Can you add anything? Do you have anything different from that, Mr. Colby?

Mr. Colby. I think the only thing we were concerned about a year or so ago was the tendency for some of the refugees to resell the material instead of using it. I do not really call this corruption in that sense, but it is use of it for another purpose. In other words, they receive certain commodities and instead of using them, they sell them. We did take the step, for instance, in the refugee program this past year of terminating the issuance of cement to refugees because we found that there was a certain leakage and resale of it. Instead the refugees receive a certain sum of money which is given to them to use as they wish to help rebuild their houses.

Mr. Hitchcock. I think the basic reason for doing away with cement distribution was a desire to utilize the private sector for the distribution of that commodity.

PAST POLICY OF GENERATING REFUGEES

The Chairman. In the staff report, Mr. Hitchcock, there occurs this statement. I want your comment on it if it is true. It says:

Incidentally, we were told that while it had once been considered desirable to generate refugees — because they would presumably become sympathetic to the government or would at least be under government control — it was no longer regarded as advantageous and the military were being told not to do so purposely.

Mr. Hitchcock. That is true, sir.

The Chairman. Is that a true statement?

Mr. Hitchcock. Yes. I specifically addressed that in my statement. This has not been the case for the last several years. The basic policy of pacification in general is to bring security to the people rather than bring the people out of insecure areas to secure areas.

The Chairman. What was the experience with those whom you deliberately made refugees and then helped resettle? Were they grateful and did they turn out to be sympathetic to and supporters of the Government?

Mr. Hitchcock. I cannot reliably answer that question, sir.

Mr. Colby. I think our assessment, Mr. Chairman, was that it was not a very successful technique, which is the reason the Government turned against it with our full support.

The Chairman. Without knowing anything, just as a political observer, it does not appeal to me.

Mr. Colby. It does not sound very practical.

The Chairman. Without knowing anything about what your experience was, it does not appear a very likely program. I am not at all of the feeling that people are likely to be that grateful.

Mr. Hitchcock, in your statement you indicate procedures which have been instituted to minimize the effect of military operations in generating refugees. Then you acknowledge this does not always work, which we have discussed several times in these hearings. We have called attention to questionable practices and the answer has been. “Maybe that used to happen, but the order has now been changed.”

I wonder what things are going on now that we do not know about, but which later will be corrected. {p.237}

 

REFUGEES GENERATED BY OPERATION RUSSELL BEACH

In this particular case, let me ask you about an incident reported by the Washington Post in another article by Mr. David Hoffman on December 24. He writes as follows:

For example: Navy landing craft and big troop-carrying helicopters discharged many thousands of soldiers on Quangngai’s Batangan Peninsula in early January. Elements of the 2d ARVN division, the Americal Division and the Marine 26th Regimental Landing Team cordoned off the whole peninsula, transplanted 11,000 peasants and razed their Vietcong-infested hamlets. The operation, code-named Russell Beach, was one of the largest hard cordons of the war.

A giant helicopter airlift was organized to transport the peasants, en masse, to a “combined holding and interrogation center” some 50 miles from their home-sites. The refugees lived there, in a tent colony, for almost 3 months while Russell Beach spent itself.

Advisory Team 17 at Quangngai was given approximately 20 days notice that an operation contemplated by the military could be expected to generate 5,000 refugees, no more. It was Team 17’s responsibility, along with Colonel Khien, to care for the displaced persons — when and if they materialized.

“That one operation cost the Province 6 months work,” said a Team 17 adviser recently. “We thought Russell Beach was a gigantic mistake, and few of us have changed our minds since it ended.” But the advice of advisers is not always solicited.

David Hoffman, “U.S. Advisers: The Men Who'll Stay in Vietnam” (Washington Post, December 24 1969, page A1).  CJHjr

This raises several question including the effectiveness of the coordination between the CORDS and the operational military elements.

Do you have any comment to make on that?

Mr. Hitchcock. Well, I have some familiarity with that from the point of view of the refugees generated. Most of the basic facts there are true. Over 11,000 people were removed in advance of the military sweeps through the Batangan Peninsula area. They were not held, I believe, as long as 3 months. I believe it was closer to 2 months.

They were screened, and they were returned. The were returned to places which were not in all cases the precise home that they had left. This is an area which had been for many, many years a Vietcong stronghold. Whether or not the military operation was worth the effort put forth, I cannot judge. I have* heard it contended that it was in military terms.

These people were returned to five different places on the peninsula. They were assisted as refugees. They were assisted also while they were in the reception center. Conditions in the reception center were overcrowded, but they did not lack in the way of food or sanitation.

It was not obviously a desirable kind of thing if you can avoid it, but the alternative might have been a lot of deaths of these people in the military operation that was undertaken.

So I would not care to balance all this out in terms of pros and cons.

Most of the people who were returned to the five locations on the peninsula subsequently have dispersed throughout the peninsula to the immediate home areas that they originally left.

The Chairman. It is a very difficult and heart-rendering kind of operation concerning these people.

I do not know that I have any other questions. Do you have anything further you would like to say before we move on to the next subject? {p.238}

TECHNIQUES ARE BEING REVIEWED

Mr. Colby. On that question you raised, Mr. Chairman, as to whether there are other things that we will find out later that we would just as soon that we were not doing now, I think the answer is yes, that there will be a number of things. Things like this are under study.

We are, I think, improving some of our techniques by studying them, reviewing them, and determining whether the net value was really worth the energy and effort involved. This applies to a variety of programs.

The Chairman. Of course, I do not think anyone in this committee or anywhere else has any doubt but that given the war, we have to do the best we can with it. Other than these questions which have been given to me, I have personally heard of nothing seriously wrong with your program.

Mr. Hitchcock. It is not perfect, sir.

The Chairman. I do not feel good about having to have it, but nevertheless—

Mr. Hitchcock. It is not perfect, but it is improving.

PRIORITY OF REFUGEE PROGRAM

The Chairman. Dp you think that relative to the other activities it has as high a priority as it ought to have? I mean is it treated fairly within the distribution of funds?

Mr. Hitchcock. It does not suffer for lack of priority.

The Chairman. Lack of funds.

Mr. Hitchcock. I think Ambassador Colby’s attitude, for example, is quite apparent. He has been a strong supporter of it.

The Chairman. Then thank you very much, Mr. Hitchcock.

Mr. Hitchcock. Thank you. It has been a pleasure.

The Chairman. I believe, Mr. Colby, you are now going to tell us about the Chieu Hoi program; is that correct? Do you have a statement?

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir, I have a small statement.

Mr. Chairman, in previous parts of this testimony, we have discussed programs by which the Vietnamese people are increasing their participation in a national effort to build as well as protect their country. Some Vietnamese, even South Vietnamese, have been in the hostile camp. I would like to describe now the program of the Vietnamese Government which seeks to include them as well in this national effort.

CHIEU HOI PROGRAM

Since 1963, the Government of Vietnam has waged a battle to win the allegiance of those who actively oppose it. In this battle, the Vietnamese Government has appealed to the enemy to return to the national cause and assisted those who returned to establish useful and meaningful lives in Vietnamese society. This program is called Chieu Hoi, or, in English, Open Arms. To the Vietnamese, it means “a call to return home.”

When the returnees join the Government side, the Government reinstates their citizenship and rights, and makes every effort to fully reintegrate them into the political, social and economic life of the {p.239} Nation. They are not treated as prisoners of war, enemies of the people, or otherwise castigated for their past activities that may well have included acts of terror and violence.

The response to this appeal, especially during the past year has been impressive. Since 1963, over 142,000 Vietnamese supporting the Vietcong have come over to the Government of Vietnam. Almost a third of these, 47,000, rallied during the past year. In addition, some NVA, far fewer than Vietcong, to a total over the years of less than 1,000, have rallied. The appeal to return home is not the same of course for the NVA soldier in the South.

A variety of methods are used to encourage the Vietcong to rally. The Vietnamese Ministry of Chieu Hoi, the Ministry of Information, the Joint U.S. Public Affairs Office, and MACV, cooperate in producing radio broadcasts, making tapes of appeals by former Vietcong which are broadcast from aircraft or ground stations, and disseminating printed material. The most effective operations, however, are conducted by the armed propaganda teams, which are made up exclusively of returnees. The primary purpose of the team is to conduct fact-to-face operations in less secure areas to encourage VC and their supporters to return to the government side. On January 1, 1970, the Ministry of Chieu Hoi authorized an increase from 75 to 90 such teams. The current strength of these armed propaganda teams of 74 men each is 5,200 men.

RECEPTION AND TREATMENT OF RETURNEES

Once encouraged to return by the APT, armed propaganda team, or other means, the returnee begins his journey back to normal life. The first step is taken at a Chieu Hoi reception center.

Reception activities encompass all activities required to receive, process, care for, and release returnees. These activities are managed by the Chieu Hoi cadre. The manner in which the returnee is received and treated is critical for if ill-treated he will probably become incorrigible and never support the Government. Reception centers are located in 74 districts, all Provinces, and four autonomous cities. In addition, for higher ranking returnees, there are four regional centers and one national center. Upon arrival, the returnee is welcomed by the Chieu Hoi chief and then interviewed to obtain biographical data and establish a basis for classification. The returnee is interrogated by the nation police, Province S-2 and S-5, and, when available, a member of the Phung Hoang Committee, to develop information of immediate tactical value or personnel data on known VCI. The information brought in by returnees results in many successful operations against the enemy, the capture of important documents, a decrease in mine and booby trap casualties due to operations guided by Hoi Chanh and the location and capture of rice and weapons caches.

The returnee, whether rice bearer or high-ranking officer, has knowledge about the enemy, his movements, strengths, locations, and tactics. In most cases, the returnee readily volunteers this information. Also, during the interrogation process, many bogus returnees, ARVN deserters, and enemy infiltration agents are detected.

The returnee is required to remain in the Chieu Hoi center for a 60-day period to fulfill the program, although he is not physically {p.240} restrained or guarded to prevent Ms leaving. During that time he is supported by the Government with a small amount of money (about 50$VN or U.S. 40 cents) per day for food for himself, his wife, and any dependents over 15 years of age. Dependents under 15 years of age receive 25$VN (U.S. 20 cents) per day for food. He also receives two sets of clothes or a 1,500$VN (U.S. $13) clothing allowance. Each returnee is given 300$VN (U.S. $2.50 per month for spending money for himself and 150$VN (U.S. $1.25) for each of his dependents. In addition, when the returnee is resettled he receives a 1,200$VN (U.S. $10) resettlement allowance to get him a small start.

During his stay in the center, the returnee receives at least 72 hours of political training. The topics include: democratic processes of government; rights and duties of a citizen in a democracy; success of the GVN as contrasted to the failures of the Viet Cong; policies and programs for combating the enemy; and inconsistencies in Communist policies.

Training opportunities are offered in 17 skill areas. The most popular are mechanics, tailoring, masonry, carpentry, driving, and barber-ing. From the beginning of the vocational training program in 1964 until December 1969, 11,112 returnees have completed some form of vocational training. Of these 5,359 returnees, or about half of the overall total, were trained in 1969. This is not a large percentage of the total, but this training is voluntary, the program has had its problems and most returnees prefer to return to their home villages as soon as the required 2-month stay at the center is over.

Currently, two regional centers and 35 provincial centers offer some form of vocational training. By July 1970, all regional and provincial centers will offer vocational training. In addition, courses are sponsored by U.S. Navy Seabees, USAID/General Support Office, and the Ministries of Labor and Agriculture.

RESETTLEMENT OF RETURNEES

The four objectives of resettlement are:

A. To fulfill GVN promises to the ralliers.

B. To provide the means for the ralliers to reintegrate themselves into the normal flow of Vietnamese society and life.

C. To enable the ralliers to become economically self-sufficient.

D. To develop the ralliers’ capability for contributing to society. If the security situation permits, the returnee usually elects to return to his former place of residence. If not, he may establish his residence in an urban area or build a new home in a Chieu Hoi hamlet. Chieu Hoi hamlets are normally exclusively for ralliers. They are a last resort method of resettling ralliers. Currently, there are 28 operational hamlets providing homes for 4,000 families, with an additional 12 hamlets nearing completion. Each family receives a small plot of land, suitable for some gardening, from the Government. The Government also provides building materials for a home and a rice allowance for 6 months.

MILITARY SERVICE OF RETURNEES

Approximately 50 percent of all ralliers desire to return to farming upon leaving the center and do so. All ablebodied male ralliers, how- {p.241} ever, are eligible for the draft 6 months after they leave the center. Many voluntarily join paramilitary units like the APT (Armed Propaganda Team). Regional and popular forces also attract some returnees. One of the most successful utilizations of ralliers is the Kit Carson scout program. Founded in October 1966, the KCS are Hoi Chanh, ralliers, employed by U.S. and other free world military units to provide geographical expertise and tactical knowledge of the enemy’s method of operation. Utilization of the scouts has been credited with saving numerous American and allied forces lives. Since the inception of the program, 230 scouts have been killed and 716 wounded.

Currently, there are 2,245 scouts. They receive a salary ranging from 5,000$VN to 10,000$VN per month, paid from the military assistance for pacification fund (AIK). In addition, the scouts receive the same medical attention as personnel in the unit to which assigned.

In total, about 25 percent of all returnees have joined some type of force actively fighting against their old associates.

EFFECTS OF CHIEU HOI PROGRAM

Another very positive indicator of the effect this program is having on the enemy is the fact that the NVA and VC have taken specific action to counteract the program. Central Office of South Vietnam Resolution No. 9, issued last fall, directly addresses the problem, and units have been ordered to carry out intensive indoctrination against the program. Special schools have been set up to train cadres to infiltrate the Chieu Hoi centers to foment discord. Chieu Hoi hamlets and provincial reception centers are priority targets for enemy attacks. Ralliers are very high on the enemy selective assassination list. All this shows that the enemy has very deep concern about the deleterious effect the Chieu Hoi program is having on their ranks.

As I said at the outset, the benefits of this program are measurable. And, while there was opposition to this program in the past — mainly from GVN officials and high-ranking military — at the present, this opposition has dwindled to almost zero clue, among other things, to President Thieu’s strong direction to Government officials to utilize the returnees actively. Since most VC have family roots in GVN-held territory, their reintegration into society has not been difficult.

It is true that a substantial proportion of the returnees are low-level guerrillas, lesser infrastructure members, and part-time workers or porters for the enemy. Nevertheless, these ralliers represent serious manpower losses to the enemy, and, without them, it is more difficult for the enemy to carry out his operations. Further, ralliers have proved an invaluable source of intelligence to GVN and Free World Forces. In addition to providing information on enemy strengths, dispositions, and personalities, ralliers have guided many successful operations against the enemy resulting in the capture of documents, decrease in mine and booby trap casualties, and location and capture of caches. In 1969, 190 operations resulting in discovery of weapons and food caches were led by ralliers. During the year, 8,828 weapons were captured in this fashion. It is also true that the rate of returnees has decreased in the past several weeks. This is a drop from the exceptional figures during late 1969. We ascribe this drop to the annual pre-Tet dip, to increased precautions against the program by the enemy and to the fact that expansion of pacification into new areas, which produces {p.242} many returnees from those happy to rejoin the Government side and remain home, has gone so far that there is less of this sort of population to absorb.

Future returnees may thus be fewer, but the program of offering reconciliation even to the members of the hard-core enemy will continue, and I might add in the number last week; the number that came in last week was 622, Mr. Chairman, which is a reversion to the somewhat higher figures that we had during December and some of the earlier periods. It is not the high thousands-a-week level that we used to have, that we were having during the fall, but it is very substantially over the low of 200-odd that it dipped to just before Tet.

Beyond the manpower and intelligence gains accruing to the Government corresponding to debits on the VC side of the ledger, the political benefits are really the most significant. The act of rallying is an act of political commitment to the GVN and away from the Communists. Apart from the initial act. the commitment is strengthened by good treatment and indoctrination at the Chieu Hoi Center. Further, the political posture taken by the Government in welcoming all to the national effort is a unifying force acting not only on those in the enemy camp, but those already in the GVN fold.

The Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.

TYPE OF RALLIERS UNDER CHIEU HOI

A journalist named Harvey Meyerson has written a book about Vietnam entitled “Vinh Long,” which is due to be released later this month. Mr. Meyerson’s book tells a story of what happened in Vinh Long Province in 1967 and 1968. He makes several observations about the Chieu Hoi program in this book. He writes that most defectors who rally under the program had been in the Vietcong for less than 11 months so that the Chieu Hoi program “had scarcely touched the Vietcong hard core” but was affecting only “fresh recruits”; that many who rallied were doing so in order to get new clothes, a daily food allowance, a welcome package and other benefits; and that still others had been brought in by others under “the third party inducement program.”

Would you comment on his observations, or do you happen to know Mr. Meyerson?

Mr. Colby. I do not offhand, Mr. Chairman. I think his comments are roughly similar to the ones I made here. I think that the great mass of the ralliers are low-level people, not any great contribution.

There have been, of course, some very notable exceptions, some very important ralliers who have given us very important intelligence, but that is a fairly small percentage of the total number. The main effect of the program over the past year has been to bite into the enemy’s total manpower base, not to get at its key people.

THIRD PARTY INDUCEMENT PROGRAM

The Chairman. What does he mean by the third party inducement program?

Mr. Colby. There was a program that began at the time of the accelerated pacification program, Mr. Chairman, in which various sums {p.243} were offered to third parties who would induce named or ranking Hoi Chanh (ralliers) to come in. In other words, if a lieutenant was induced by someone else to come in, this person received a reward, in a sense.

This program, we believe, had something to do with increasing the number of people coming in. We also began to have increasing doubts as to the validity of the inducement and whether there was not some arrangement in many cases so that the man who was coming in anyway was credited to some friend; and as a result the program was terminated at the end of 1969.

The Chairman. It was terminated?

Mr. Colby. It has been terminated; yes, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. This article that I have by Mr. Beech was printed last year. It indicated just what you said you suspected. I would expect that that would be a very difficult program to administer.

Mr. Colby. I think it had a certain stimulating effect, but then some fellows inevitably figure out how to exploit it.

The Chairman. It is sort of hard to get a program where they cannot do that. That is true here too.

Mr. Colby. Yes.

The Chairman. You have seen in the paper recently that in our own poverty program there seem to be some difficulties of a similar nature. It is very difficult indeed and especially in a foreign country where there are circumstances that are very unsettled.

COMPARATIVE COST OF KILLING AND RALLYING VIETCONG

Maybe this question is irrelevant to your problem. You were talking about the allowances and also Mrs. Hitchcock was talking about the allowances to refugees. Some time ago I saw an article in which some statistician had calculated how much it cost us — I believe it was the ammunition, just the war, the military aspect — to kill a VC.

Do you remember seeing such a figure?

Mr. Colby. I do not recall it, but it is generally an astronomical figure, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. It was something like $200,000 to $300,000; was it not?

Mr. Colby. It generally — I do not know what the figure is, but I am sure it is very high.

The Chairman. When you were talking there about giving them $1.25 a month or something, I thought perhaps we could strike .bargain and give them half as much as it cost to kill them and they would all quit.

Mr. Colby. Well, I think Mr. Chairman, this is even cheaper. This particular program in 1970 cost in the neighborhood of $14 million. If you divide it roughly by the 40,000-odd people who came in, we come to a per returnee cost of $368, which is really pretty cheap. Now all of them are not the greatest accomplishment in terms of being high level Vietcong, but. on the other hand, that is a considerably smaller cost than the cost of killing them.

The Chairman. I take it you did not mention the third party program in your statement simply because it had been abandoned.

Mr. Colby. That is right, yes, sir. {p.244}

The Chairman. I do not know that there is any use in pursuing that subject since it has been abandoned. There were several articles with which I assume you are familiar.

IDEOLOGICAL COMMITMENT OF RALLIED VIETCONG

Could you give any impression about the Vietcong who do come in in this Chieu Hoi program? Do they give the impression they are really committed or ever were committed to communism as an ideology?

Mr. Colby. Again, I think this relates, Mr. Chairman, to their level. The great mass of them, the larger number were not. These were in great part people who were living in their local village, and in their local village they participated in the local guerrilla group, perhaps because it was the only guerrilla group around to participate in. When the Government appeared in the area and established itself and the Government programs began to work in the area, they were quite content to shift over and join the Government side. They were not deeply committed.

Now there are Vietcong who are deeply committed individuals, there is no question about that — the higher level ones. Some of these have gone through the intellectual agonies of a real defection before they have come over.

The Chairman. This question is always arising. I remember in the early days in De Gasperi’s regime in Italy, we were greatly disturbed about the large Communist vote. When I was there we discussed it and it usually came down that in the opinion of many of our own people, as well as the Italians, they really were not Communists. They were against the Government. They did not like what the establishment represented and the only really effective organized opposition was the Communist Party. I think subsequent events to a great extent have supported that thesis.

Mr. Colby. I remember a story about a peasant, Mr. Chairman, I believe in Thailand one time who was asked why he joined the Communist Party, and his reply in all ingenuousness was that this was the first time anyone had ever asked him to join anything. [Laughter.]

The Chairman. I think that is probably true. It is very likely to be true.

U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN IDEOLOGICALLY MOTIVATED WARS

I do not want to raise it again with you, but this does raise the question of whether these ideologically motivated wars in which we become engaged are justifiable in our national interests.

The other criteria we at one time used to try to apply was that it was a real threat to the security of our country regardless of what their ideology may be or is alleged to be. To my way of thinking, it has been a great tragedy that we departed from that principle, but that is another matter.

MILITARY ASSISTANCE FOR PACIFICATION FUND

What is this military assistance for pacification fund to which you referred as AIK in your statement? {p.245}

Mr. Colby. Yes, sir, right. This is one of those counterpart funds, Mr. Chairman. It was generated by counterpart, and it is a fund made available by the arrangements between ourselves and the Vietnamese Government for our direct dispensing. There has to be agreement on how most counterpart is to be spent and it is spent in joint programs. But this particular fund is a sum of money which is turned over to our province and district teams. They may spend it without consultation with the Government in that area.

We frankly used this very heavily right after the Tet period especially to get things moving very fast. It was more flexible and it was a fund which could be utilized very rapidly.

In calendar 1970 we are cutting this back very substantially because we have found that these other programs that have been developed which are in the Vietnamese structure, like the village self-development program, and the province self-development program, can have the necessary flexibility and, therefore, you do not need an American handled fund of that nature so much.

The source of the fund is still American dollars, Mr. Chairman, but it is an effort to develop the Vietnamese channels to handle these things rather than handling them through American funds.

The Chairman. How much does it consist of in 1970 or 1969?

Mr. McManaway. 1969 it was 1.5 billion piasters or about—

Mr. Colby. 1.5 billion piasters for 1969. In 1970 it will be reduced to one-half billion piasters.

The Chairman. Do you have difficulty with those ciphers like I do?

Mr. Colby. I do, Mr. Chairman. I am not a mathematician.

The Chairman. So do I. I tend to get lost with these figures in calculation. That is the great advantage the military has over the civilians. Their ciphers are so numerous that no one understands what they come out with and the other programs people understand them.

If you get it down to half a billion, people will know what you are spending and you will have problems.

FUNCTION, SIZE, AND PAY OF ARMED PROPAGANDA TEAM

What is the function, size, and pay of an armed propaganda team?

Mr. Colby. The armed propaganda team has 74 men in it. A team of 74 former Vietcong who are recruited to work for you. They are paid between 5,000 and 10,000 piasters a month. They are armed usually, with M-2 carbines. They are uniformed, and they operate generally in smaller elements than 74. They generally operate in platoon size or even in squad size. Their function is to go around into the countryside and indicate to the people that they used to be Vietcong and that the government has received them and taken them in and that the Chieu Hoi program does exist as a way of Vietcong currently on the other side to rally. They contact people like the families of known Vietcong. They have, for instance, invited and provided the transportation to take such families for a look at the local Chieu Hoi center, to see what it is, and then return them to their homes after that one-half day visit just so the next time they see their relative they can attest to the fact that this program really is what it is. Some of them are also used as guards on the Chieu Hoi hamlets or even the Chieu Hoi centers to help protect them against possible Vietcong attack. {p.246}

As I indicated, the fellow in the Chieu Hoi reception center is free to leave if he wishes.

ADVISERS TO ARMED PROPAGANDA TEAMS

The Chairman. Do these teams have American advisers?

Mr. Colby. They have American advisers, sir, Australian advisers and some Filipino advisers. Each team might not necessarily have an adviser, but there will probably be an adviser in the Province to advise the total program, the reception of new Hoi Chanh and the use of the armed propaganda teams.

The Chairman. I thought the Filipinos had been withdrawn.

Mr. Colby. These are contract people, individuals who are hired by us. They are paid by the Americans but are not Americans.

The Chairman. Why do you hire Filipinos?

Mr. Colby. The Filipinos had a very interesting history of a program of inviting the Huks to rally, and they had the same kind of a program of resettling them and inviting them to rejoin the government side.

A number of these people who were working in the Philippines under President Magsaysay did come over and help set this program up and helped on the advisory aspects of it.

The Chairman. Is General Lansdale out there?

Mr. Colby. He is not in Vietnam now. He is here in the United States.

The Chairman. Did he have anything to do with setting up this program because he worked in the Philippines before; did he not?

Mr. Colby. Yes. I think he had something to do with setting it up in the Philippines; I could not say for sure. I think it was set up before he returned to Vietnam this time.

The Chairman. These teams have either American or, as you say, contract advisers?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

The Chairman. The teams report to them, I take it?

Mr. Colby. No, they report to the Chieu Hoi chief.

The Chairman. Chieu Hoi chief?

Mr. Colby. Yes. They are part of the Vietnamese Government, and their command structure is to the Chieu Hoi chief of that particular Province.

The adviser is an adviser to the Chieu Hoi chief. They do not command these teams.

CHIEU HOI INTERROGATION PROCEDURES

The Chairman. In your statement you discuss the interrogation procedure. Are these advisers present during the interrogation?

Mr. Colby. Generally not. Mr. Chairman. The interrogation is done in the Chieu Hoi center by the national police, by the military intelligence or whoever, and it would be very rare that an American would be involved in the actual interrogation.

Once in a while that probably happens. I believe for the very important ones who come over, like some of the higher officers who have {p.247} come over, the Americans have directly interrogated them. But the rule is that a man who comes over and says he is a Hoi Chanh must be reported to the Chieu Hoi service and center and must be physically brought there within 24 hours. He then, with his consent, may be returned to an interrogation center for further discussion and elucidation of what he knows, but he must first be brought into the Chieu Hoi mechanism.

 

ARE HOI CHANH COUNTED UNDER PHOENIX PROGRAM?

The Chairman. Are those who come in under the Chieu Hoi program also counted as defectors under the Phoenix program?

Mr. Colby. Yes, yes. They are included in that total. Not all of them, of course, because all of them do not meet the standards of the Phoenix program, the A, B category.

IMPORTANT OFFICIALS RALLIED

The Chairman. You gave the figures; I will not repeat them. Can you indicate the percentage who are what you would call important officials or of that rank who might be called Communists in an ideological sense?

Mr. Colby. I think the sum last year, the total number last year brought in were 47,000 of which 28,000 were military. Now, they would not be included in the category of important officials because they are not in the political apparatus; 12,500-odd are called political. I think in our Phoenix figures that 5,000-odd rallied, something of that nature, and those 5,000 out of the 47,000 would be a figure for the more important ones.

CHIEU HOI PROGRAM QUOTAS

The Chairman. Are there quotas assigned under the Chieu Hoi program?

Mr. Colby. Yes, there have been goals set. I would call them goals rather than quotas — goals to get that many brought in; 4,800 ralliers were included in the Phoenix total last year.

The Chairman. They would be considered of some consequence rather than—

Mr. Colby. Yes, not enormous consequence in that an A, B level could be a front leader at the village level. I mean that does not really make him a member of the central committee in Hanoi.

The Chairman. Last year you said, I believe, 47,000 rallied; is that correct?

Mr. Colby. Yes.

ARVN DESERTERS

The Chairman. How many deserters or defectors did the ARVN have last year? Do you know that?

Mr. Colby. I do not know the answer, sir. I can get it for you. It may be a matter we should give you in executive session. I will have the figure for you tomorrow. {p.248}

I would add that the ARVN deserter is carried as a deserter after 15 days absence from his unit as distinct from our practice of calling him a deserter only after 30 days.

It is our experience that a number of the people who are classified as deserters actually show up again or show up in another unit sometimes. There is a certain shifting among the different units. This should be reduced in the future by reason of a fingerprint system which is well on its way toward being implemented today, so that I think we will be able to find out when that recruit was a member of some other unit.

The Chairman. I am told that figure, as you say, is classified. It was very substantially greater than the number of Chieu Hoi. We will talk further about that tomorrow.

Mr. Colby. I will have that figure for you tomorrow.

CLASSIFICATION OF ARVN DESERTION FIGURES QUESTIONED

The Chairman. I am not quite sure why these figures should be classified if the country is supposed to understand what we are doing and what goes on. The reason I object to this classification of things of this character is how do they expect people to make a reasonably well-informed judgment if they do not know some of the critical questions?

If you let the Chieu Hoi stand alone without any reference at all to what is happening on the other side, it creates an impression that the thing is collapsing. I mean it is just about to collapse and, of course, if you hang on another year it will be over.

But if there are more desertions from the ARVN than there are desertions from the other side, that puts a little different light on the situation; does it not?

Mr. Colby. Well, Mr. Chairman, these figures are not that comparable, because the Chieu Hoi figures are people who were on the other side who joined the government side.

Now, there are some who were on the other side and who just drift back into their homes and never go through the Chieu Hoi center. Secondly, it is our fairly firm opinion that very few of the deserters from the GVN forces actually go to the other side.

Again, as I say, a number of these shift to other units. Some of them drift off and go home and plant rice and that sort of thing, so it is not an exactly comparable figure.

The Chairman. Let us assume you are correct. I still do not see why they say this is a classified figure if there is an explanation. It creates then a false impression that it is perhaps more serious than it is. What I do not like is always classifying some aspect of it. I think it may well create an impression that the Government is hiding something that is bad. This contributes to a degree to this so-called credibility gap, that we do not believe what we are told. I have already gone over it. You know, we have been misled so much in the past. I think it is to your benefit not to classify these things, but to put it on the table and then if there is an explanation, such as you have given, give it.

It is much healthier and much more persuasive to say, “Yes,” there were so many thousands of these deserters, but this is what happened to them. They did not go to the VC: they went home and did so and so — just what you said. {p.249}

It is much healthier than your saying, “Well, that figure is classified.”

Mr. Colby. Let me examine the question. Mr. Chairman, and if it is possible to declassify it tomorrow, we will hand it to you on an unclassified basis.

The Chairman. It is very irritating you see. This keeps cropping up. It is the same as this terrible controversy we are having over the Laotian situation, with which you have nothing to do. But it is very irritating in trying to operate a democratic government, if it is still maybe called that, to be always confronted with this tendency to cover up some kind of a figure or some activity. I do not see anything wrong with your explanation of it and I am not rejecting it at all. If that is the fact, well, then, so what? Then it does not mean what it might otherwise mean if you merely make the explanation and say, “Well, the figure is classified.”

Mr. Colby. I do not want to indicate that desertion is not a problem. It is a problem; I agree with you there.

The Chairman. It is a problem. There is a considerable problem within our own forces; is there not?

Mr. Colby. I do not know, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. You have read about it. I mean there is a considerable problem about the question of the draft. This has been in the paper. This has been a pretty difficult war; has it not? Do you not agree to that?

Mr. Colby. It has indeed.

The Chairman. Or have you been too far away from us to know it?

Mr. Colby. It is a difficult war on both sides of the ocean, I believe.

The Chairman. It sure is.

There is a sort of closing note, putting together a few odds and ends.

POPULATION CONTROL MARKING SYSTEM

Are you familiar with an Army project called the population control marking system, which was described in an October 1969 Army intelligence information bulletin as one which will “enable U.S. Forces to rapidly and invisibly mark mass elements of a given population with a permanent coated agent that cannot be reasonably reproduced or forged. In this manner it will be possible through a special read-out device to rapidly and accurately ascertain to what hamlet, city, or region an individual belonged, thus identifying him as a suspect should he be detected in other than his designated area”?

Mr. Colby. I am not familiar with that program, Mr. Chairman. I am familiar with the program of giving new identification cards to Vietnamese which will be backed up by fingerprints and photographs. These will be given to all Vietnamese. We are supporting that program. It is normal identification card type thing.

The Chairman. You think this is not this program though?

Mr. Colby. That does not sound like it to me. But I do not know anything about that program, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. This I am told is an invisible tatooing program. You do not know anything about it?

Mr. Colby. I am afraid you are beyond me, Mr. Chairman. We have lots of bright ideas out there, Mr. Chairman. {p.250}

The Chairman. Maybe you as well as we can learn something out of this hearing. As a matter of fact, it has just been called to my attention. I do not know about it either. We have lots of new developments going on in this country.

EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE CORRUPTION IN VIETNAM

This morning I think there was a description of corruption in South Vietnam written in 1967 by a Vietnamese, and it was suggested the document was out of date. I have now been handed a more current observation, an up-to-date statement written less than a year ago, written in the spring of 1969, also by a Vietnamese. Mr. Tran Ngoc Chau.

It relates to the success of eliminating corruption. There are a few excerpts that I thought I might read into the record and maybe you would care to comment on them as to the success. It says:

The present countermeasures used in abolishing corruption can only solve the problem partially. Due to the following reasons, we have not yet been able to determine the main reasons that cause and nourish corruption. A campaign is directed mainly for political propaganda and for the satisfaction of criticism by American opinion. The measures taken are somewhat partial because they are only aimed at low ranking, isolated and out of power local officials. The above mentioned measures are so inefficient and erroneous that they can cause corruption to be more severe, formation of factions to be stronger and honest officials to become agitated and to have a crime obsession and an inferiority complex thus making our regime internally as well as internationally more scattered and weaker.

Do you have any comment to make on that?

Mr. Colby. Well, my difference with the earlier statement was mainly pointed at the question of the situation in the country side, the physical condition in the countryside, Mr. Chairman. Corruption is still a problem. It has been for many years in most of Asia and I presume will be with us for a while.

There are still problems that have to be dealt with. There are some steps being taken on this. It is a matter of discussion from time to time.

We take particular pains, of course, in our own programs and in the use of our own resources to minimize, to the degree possible, any corruption.

I would suggest that you would be interested in a little story. One of our people in a district in Saigon had an idea which was adopted, and as a result in this office in Saigon today there are big painted signs on the walls describing the different forms, the different documents that are available at that office, and next to each the name of each form or each license that you need. It tells the cost of the licenses and the number of days or how long it should take to be available.

The purpose of publicizing this is to make it obvious that it is not necessary to give the extra money, the “tea” money, and so forth, to get the document through in any shorter time. It also fixes the sum for the license fee.

Now, this is not everywhere in Vietnam, but it is the kind of suggestion that comes up from some of our people from time to time which a local official will adopt to try to bring some of the problems out into the open so that the normal control of the population’s interest in eliminating this kind of nuisance can begin to bear on it. {p.251}

FRENCH STATEMENTS ON INDOCHINA WAR IN 1953

The Chairman. There is one passage in this book of Mr. Meyerson’s which I thought was rather interesting. It bears upon this recurrent question of whether or not we are actually judging the situation properly. This is in his appendix and I thought it would be interesting for the record. It is very short.

This gentleman, I may say, spent quite a long time, in two different periods, altogether, I think, the equivalent of a year or a year and a half, studying this one small problem. He said:

On a visit to Saigon one day in May 1967, just after the much heralded nationwide village elections, I came upon a bundle of back issues of the French magazine “Indochina Sud Est Asiatique.” They were published in 1953. Here are excerpts:

“The transport squadrons of the Army Air Force in Indochina have, since October 1952, flown 8 million kilometers. They have registered 25,261 sorties, carried 24,400 tons of cargo and 143,000 passenger, and they have dropped 75,000 paratroopers.

“I was struck by the high morale of the Vietnamese soldiers, the intelligence of the officers who command them, and above all the new fact that the population is joining in the struggle against the terrorists.”

This was attributed to a statement of French President Paul Reynaud in summing up his inspection trip in Saigon. On the next page it says:

“Each year sees a refinement of military tactics in Indo-China. Since the fall of Nghia-Lo, isolated outposts have been downgraded. The latest tactic involves hedge-hopping air mobile units.

“Vietnam has now successfully completed an extraordinary undertaking: In the midst of a violent civil war, the government has conducted village elections employing every guarantee of liberty and independence of choice that can be imagined for any modern State. ... One need only recall the old Vietnamese saying, ‘The authority of the King stops at the gates of the village,’ to appreciate the full significance of these elections. ...

“Nevertheless, certain observers have tended to write off the elections as being ... without political significance. This interpretation vastly underestimates the importance of the event It should be emphasized that, in the weeks preceding the elections, the Viet Minn announced a two-pronged anti-election campaign: On the one hand, terrorism and sabotage would be stepped up; on the other hand, voters would be pressured into abstaining. Yet, despite these threats, not only did 80.21 percent of eligible voters participate in the election, but, equally significant, 15,000 candidates presented themselves for the 7,000 seats at stake.”

These reports going back for 20 years sound so familiar; do they not? Sometimes at least it raises a slight question about our judgment; does it not?

Mr. Colby. I think we tried to express our judgment with appropriate caution and awareness of difficulties ahead, Mr. Chairman,

The Chairman. I am sure you do. I am quite sure President Reynaud was not trying to deceive anyone. I have no reason to doubt that. They went through a very painful experience because of it. I hope I never suggested that I think any of you are trying to deceive this committee or in any way misrepresent it as you see it. The problem is how do we see it. That is true not only of that problem, but of a lot of them here at home. There is nothing peculiar about it; only it is extraordinarily difficult. I do think it is very difficult.

Anything else today?

I want to make this short announcement. {p.252}

SECURITY ASPECTS OF PACIFICATION

Mr. Colby. Mr. Chairman, I have a document here on the security aspects of pacification that I thought we might insert in the record.

The Chairman. It would be very helpful.

Mr. Colby. It just summarizes some of the programs that affect security. I think we have discussed most of them in the course of the past few days.

The Chairman. I think it would be very helpful to do that.

(The information referred to appears on p.716.)

EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION BY WITNESS

Mr. Colby. I would like, since this would be the closing part of the public session, I understand, Mr. Chairman, to express on behalf of the various officers and men who have come here from Saigon our appreciation for your courtesy and your patience, I might add, and also your concerned curiosity about what is happening there.

Sergeant Wallace will go back to central Vietnam to rejoin his CAP platoon in the hamlet out there. Captain Geck will go down to the delta to resume life there in the village along the canals to try to help that village get established. Captain Murphy will go back to advising an RF operation in Long An Province where there is still a good fight going on. Major Arthur who spoke here is going back to his quarters in Binh Chanh District in which he lives in a double bed which has sandbags at the top underneath a sandbagged roof because the enemy rather frequently manages to mortar the place. Mr. Mills will go back to his highlanders and try to work the relationship between the Vietnamese and the highlanders in order to create some cohesion there. Mr. Vann will return to his rather intense programs of visiting all of the areas of the delta, every last corner of it. Mr. McManaway and I will return to the somewhat less arduous physical surroundings of Saigon. I think we all have been very much educated and very much impressed by this example of interest on your part, Mr. Chairman, and on the part of the other members of the committee in what we are trying to do out there.

We think we are trying to do something useful. I am sure we are.

On some occasions our perspective may be a little narrow, but I think that we are going to continue to try to do the best job we can for our Government, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CRITICISM IS NOT OF WITNESSES BUT OF HIGH-LEVEL DECISIONS

The Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador.

You prompt me to respond by saying that I hope that all of these gentlemen understand that this committee, and certainly the chairman of this committee, do not now nor ever have intended to criticize you gentlemen who are carrying out the orders of your Government in the best way you can, whether you are fighting on the front, whether you are exposed to the enemy, or whether you are directing from Saigon.

This criticism has been misrepresented inevitably by people who differ with us as a criticism directed at the people carrying on the war. Of course, that is utterly without foundation. {p.253}

The criticism that I and others on this committee have is confined to the decisions being made at the highest level, going back to 1961-65. We are not talking about what any of the people in the field have done but, to be precise, about the decisions made by the President, taken upon the advice of his Cabinet and advisers. There is a difference of opinion as to where the interests of the United States lie. It is a political question, and I have nothing but admiration for you in your position and all the gentlemen you have mentioned. It is even more difficult, in my opinion, to carry on a conflict such as this about which certainly there is greater doubt and greater criticism than any in our history, I believe.

Of course the Civil War was unique, but in any other outside of our own Civil War, where we really did fall to fighting among ourselves, there was nothing like this. To my knowledge there was nothing like this in World War I, World War II, the Korean war, nor any other war.

There was something like this long after the event in the Philippine war. There was quite a fuss raised, but due to lack of communications at that time no one knew anything about it until after it was long over. Unfortunately this one has gone on. You give me the occasion to say I have not now nor have I ever intended to criticize what you gentlemen are doing or soldiers are doing in the field. You are doing what you conceive is your duty and your order. I have never suggested in any way that any man has any choice about this matter.

I have had many people, students and others, because of my well-known opposition to the war itself, ask my advice about the draft and so on. I have always and always shall advise them, “This is your Government and you must follow the laws of your Government.”

DUTY OF SENATORS TO EXPRESS DISAGREEMENT WITH POLICY

I have tried to follow the laws of the Government. I figure it is my duty, as it is other Senators’ duties if they disagree with a policy, not to meekly fall in line but to express that disagreement. That is the only way a democratic country can properly function and there is a tendency always in wartime to stifle any criticism or opposition. Generally, that is no problem or not a serious one, but in this case it has been. It is a very unfortunate part and a very unhappy role to play to disagree with your Government’s policy at any time, but especially when it involves the lives of so many people and the costs.

I can well understand how you gentlemen in the field, having a job to do, are very impatient of those who back here in Washington do criticize the operation overall, even though the criticism is not directed at you, because you are bound to feel that you are doing something of importance to the country. Given the assumption that the decision was correct, you most certainly are. The question of whether or not we should be there, whether or not it is consistent with the vital national interest and security of the country, is another question. It is a legitimate question to ask not only the past Administration, but also this Administration.

It was a very important question. I think, in the last Administration’s decision not to run. At least we thought it was. I think that is generally accepted. The country. I think, thought there would be a very signifi- {p.254} cant change, and there may be. That is the question we are all interested in today.

The President, as you know, published a statement yesterday on general overall policy. It is so long that due to these hearings I have not had a chance to read it yet. I hope to read it over the weekend.

QUESTION IS ONE OF JUDGMENT, NOT WITNESS CANDOR

I want to thank you and all of you for your cooperation in coming here and giving us your advice. I hope you will not go away thinking I am suspicious or have reservations about your frankness and candor when I call attention to the fact that in the past statements about this war have not proved to have been true.

There again I did not suggest that these other witnesses were telling the committee anything that they did not believe at the time. I am suggesting these are very difficult things to judge. In our fallibility in the past we have not been correct in our judgment of how things were going and we must take every precaution possible not to fall again into this same trap. That is about the sum and substance of it.

I certainly do not wish to impugn anybody’s honesty and integrity in their testimony.

Mr. Colby. I had no suggestion of that in my statement.

SENATE’S BELIEF IN VALUE OF OPEN DISCUSSION

The Chairman. We raised these questions for examination. There is still in the Senate, especially among some Members, perhaps a naivete that there is some value in open discussion by a number of people. There is still the idea that among a hundred men, if they are first made aware of the facts and then have an opportunity to discuss them, the ultimate decision may be a little wiser than that taken by one man or two or three men in secret session, if I may call it that.

This is part and parcel of this argument about what should be made public. I mean what should we be allowed to know and and to discuss, such as the controversy over Laos. All it is really is the feeling among a great many Members of the Senate that there is still value in open discussion of public matters of the greatest importance.

That does not mean we arrogate to ourselves any superior wisdom. We assume we are all average, but the discussion develops the truth, we will say, or more nearly the truth.

I appreciate your statement, Ambassador Colby.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT HEARING

Tomorrow we will hear testimony in executive session in room S-116 in the Capitol from Capt. Armand Murphy, Regional Forces and Popular Forces Adviser in Long An Province; Capt. Richard T. Geck, Commander, Mobile Advisory Team, Kien Giang Province, and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Wallace. He is Combined Action Platoon Team Leader in Quang Nam Province.

I might point out that according to the staff the Department of Defense was prepared to have these witnesses testify in public session, but in this instance, much to my surprise, they were overruled by the {p.255} State Department. This is a salutary sign of a new relationship between the Departments of State and Defense in any case. But it is a disturbing indicator of the Department of State’s unwillingness to open up all aspects of our involvement in Vietnam to public discussion.

We will also discuss the case of Mr. Tran Ngoc Chau further. The staff of this committee has looked into this case in some depth. The case of Mr. Chau seems to raise a number of important questions concerning the operations of U.S. agencies in Vietnam, the relationship of the American mission to the Thieu regime, and the prospect of representative government in South Vietnam. We will be very interested in the comments of you gentlemen tomorrow.

I also will end by apologizing for keeping you so late and for being unable to make these hearings a little shorter, but that is a very difficult thing to do.

Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Mr. Colby. Thank you very much.

(Whereupon, at 5:05 p.m., the committee recessed, to reconvene Friday, February 20, 1970, at 10 a.m.)

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Source: The printed hearings (cited below).

By CJHjr: Photocopied at 141%, scanned, converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, text beside a green bar |, text in yellow boxes, bold-face, bold-italics, highlighting, added paragraphing (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol: ¶ .

This document: February 19 1970 hearing, pages 163-256, Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}, “Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program” (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

Previous: February 18 1970 hearing (pages 87-162) {335kb}.

Next: February 20 1970 hearing (pages 257-444) {850kb}.

See also:

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272 pf, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.
The third Phoenix hearings: Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: William E. Colby, Robert F. Drinan, Samuel A. Adams, Paul Sakwa, David S. Harrington, Kenneth B. Osborn.
Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 70 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991 pf, DL, WorldCat}.
National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman.
Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573 pf, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.
American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20 {vvaw}, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471 pf, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (volunteer coordinator, Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971 hearing, pages 353-423 {3.2mb.pdf}, at pages 406-423. CIS: “Description of charged mistreatment of prisoners in South Vietnam by American forces; report of receiving Officers Candidate School instruction on the use of torture.”

link

Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia {44.14mb.pdf, source} “Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session, on S. 376, S. 974, S.J. Res. 82, S.J. Res. 89, S. Con. Res. 17, S. Res. 62, and S. Res. 66” (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20-May 27 1971: “April 20, 21 and 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26 and 27, 1971,” 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140 pf, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.
House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.
Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.
Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897 pf, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, Gordon Livingston {Iraq, copy}, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and POW interrogators {omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).
Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).
Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.

CJHjr

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted May 31 2004. Updated May 10 2009.

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